Summary: Miracle by Karen S. Chow
After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Amie’s Ba-ba (with whom she had a close relationship) dies, leaving her with the mother she feels disconnected from. After his death, Amie can’t seem to find her way back to playing the violin — something that connected her with her dad. The book chronicles her path through grief and finding her way back to music, and building a new connection with her mom.
This may be good or bad depending on who you ask, but this book is really sad. I remember it in grayscale. There are so few moments of joy throughout the story because we start off when Amie’s dad is already sick and his health deteriorates throughout the story. He’s sick even before she was born so she doesn’t have many illness-free memories with him. The author’s experience with an ailing parent makes this sadness and grief more palpable, but yes, so sad.
Amie has a couple of great friendships. One of her friends shares her love for music and wants to be a music composer. This subplot reminded me a little of Farid’s Wave, which is also sad, but nowhere near as sad as this one. Her other best friend is a gamer and Amie plays sometimes. I liked that she has other interests because having a sick parent can be all consuming.
The other major plot point is her relationship with her parents — both of which are so different. She and her dad have a sweet bond that sometimes excludes her mother and the two also clash because of their approach to Amie’s father’s illness. Where her mom is realistic, Amie is overly optimistic. And when her father dies, she struggles with how fast her mom seems to be adjusting to his absence. The way the two rebuild their relationship is heartwarming and realistic.
Overall: Miracle by Karen S. Chow
Miracle by Karen S. Chow is a grief-laden middle grade book about losing a parent, coping with grief, and leaning on community. This is an understandably sad but moving story that I hope appeals to the right audience. While the subject matter is challenging, I appreciated the pacing of the story, the themes of friendship and music, and the unique mother-daughter relationship issues the author highlights. If you don’t mind sad stories, I definitely recommend this one.