The Mighty Heart of Sunny
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, by Ashley Herring Blake
Oh my goodness, what a poetic and beautifully written book. Sunny wakes with new heart, and thus begins her new life. The heart is a symbol for her entire life: she’s a transplant. Her mother gave her up when she was four, she dropped out of normal life for two years while she was sick, and she may have feelings for girls and boys, which lost her her best friend and started a new twist in her story. The book begins with the end of her old life, and the beginning of her new: new heart, new best friend, new life with her mom suddenly back in it.
Place is a character in this book, and is one of the things I absolutely loved about it. I loved that it took place on Juniper Island, and that the ocean was an integral part of the story. That the days were hot, and the beach was always a part of it. Every single detail in the story has a line drawing it to another, and the whole piece is an interconnected web of words, pictures, memories, meaning. It also never loses its tone--it’s Sunny’s young teen perspective, with her words, her thoughts, her opinions, her heart.
An absolutely beautiful book that makes me want to re-read again and again to be back there, back with this family, back in the ocean, back on a surfboard with Sunny, back where hot days and friendships and poetry are all blended together in this tricky thing we call life.
A wonderful summer read.