Summary: Birdie’s Billions
In Birdie’s Billions, sixth-grader Birdie Loggerman’s life becomes complicated when she finds half a million dollars — cash — in an abandoned house. Her mom is a cleaner currently out of work because Birdie’s damaged property in her last client’s house. And Birdie’s best friend’s mother views her with disdain because she’s one of the poorer kids living in their highbrow area. So when Birdie finds all this money (she’s been praying for, no less), should she keep it? Or does finders, keepers not apply in this case?
This is a super fast-paced, albeit slightly anxiety-inducing story in which a 12-year-old finds a massive stash of money in her family’s time of need. My heart went out to Birdie and her mom and the challenges they faced being poor — especially while living in an area and going to school with super wealthy people. Birdie is a brash, impulsive girl who often acts and speaks without thinking things through. Even though that trait is frustrating throughout the story, it’s so realistic! I can’t tell you how many tweens I know who act just like she does.
Besides being poor and dealing with a morally demanding dilemma, Birdie is also having some friend issues. Her best friend’s mother is highly suspicious of her and honestly can’t stand her mostly because she’s not as well to do. With that storyline, the author explores privilege where wealth and class are considered. I loved that Birdie and her mom still recognize that even as poor white people, they have more privilege than many minority races in their social class.
Overall: Birdie’s Billions
Birdie’s Billions is a unique, absorbing, middle grade novel about poverty, moral dilemmas and class privilege. With a fresh plot and and an endearing, flawed protagonist, this story highlights the impact of financial difficulties on kids. It also shows the value of a supportive home environment and community, especially in challenging times. If you like engaging realistic fiction with protagonists who don’t always do the right things, you’ll enjoy this one.
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Thanks to author Edith Cohn for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!