Monday, March 3, 2008

Niner by Theresa Martin Golding

Now that my box of tissues is completely empty and I've fallen in love with yet another author, I suppose I can write the review of this wonderful, heart wrenching book. Due to be published in April, Niner is written by Theresa Martin Golding, an author I have not read before, but will certainly be looking for again.

Macey is known to her friends as "Niner," for what should be a various obvious reason, despite the odd nickname. Macey only has nine fingers (well really, eight fingers and one thumb) and to Macey, a thumb is not all she's missing out on in her short life. First, she was adopted, meaning she's missing her birth parents. Pretty big, but not as big as the fact that now her adoptive mother has left as well, leaving Macey missing a mom altogether. Macey is searching for something in her life to just be solid and constant and when she finds a locket in her yard, she believes she's been given a sign telling her that eventually everything is going to be just fine.

With the help of her sister Deena and a few of her friends, Macey fights to keep the locket in her possession, catapulting the kids into circumstances they never imagined they would be in. And besides that big mess, Macey still has all kinds of crazy questions floating around her brain. Was it her fault that BOTH her mothers left? Why couldn't she just be born white like the rest of her family? What really is her history? Macey faces some really tough challenges in this story and tries her hardest to really come out on top, despite so many things working against her.

I absolutely loved the writing in this book and felt I had to include a couple of my favorite paragraphs. These were the sections in the story that really made me stop and think about what this poor girl was experiencing with the feelings she kept all bottled up inside of her.

"Who would ever dream of having a daughter with skin that wasn't white and smooth like Deena's or dark and beautiful like Ty's, but instead a mottled shade of brown, like a mud stain on a clean shirt, with nine fingers and gangly arms and legs and hair that springs up wildly all over her head? No one ever dreams of having a daughter like that (69)."
"Sometimes I wonder about coincidences and how little things can change your whole life. Like what if my parents had gone to the adoption people a week earlier or a week later than they did? I could be living in a whole different city or even country. I might have a different religion and a different name. For Deena and Ty, everything was set the minute they were born-their parents, their families, their history. Sometimes I think of me lying behind glass with all the other babies, like the meats at the deli counter in a supermarket. Each time the buzzer goes off and the 'number served' changes, a different couple steps forward with their little ticket and gets handed a baby. Almost like a game, a whole other life waited for me with each set of parents, all determined by a ticket, a place in line. Did I win? The question slipped into my head so fast that I couldn't stop it. I was suddenly ashamed. Of course I won (135)."

I loved the book and I loved the characters and I loved how real the writing was. I can't say enough about this book! In April make sure you grab this one up or for all you librarians, order it for your shelves. Trust me on this one! Definitely a middle grader, though probably older middle grade. There's some tough issues dealt with, but it's really a great book.

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