Title: The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 384 pages
Sunny St. James is finally getting a new heart. And once she has her new heart, she’s ready to become the New Sunny. Step 1 do amazing things. Step 2 find a new best friend. Step 3 kiss a boy. But when Sunny finds a new best friend, Quinn, she starts questioning step 3.
This book is sweet and heartwarming. It is told from 12 year old Sunny’s perspective and follows her through and after a heart transplant when her predictable, boring life is suddenly overturned.
Content Warnings: Surgery/illness, abandonment, alcoholism
What I Liked
- Sunny’s character was so precious but strong. She took everything life handed her and confronted it face on. Her best friend betrayed her secret, her mother abandoned her, her heart broke. But she never let any of it slow her down. She was an amazing Middle Grade main character.
- I really appreciated the heartwarming message of this book. I love seeing difficult topics being discussed in younger books and Ashley Herring Blake handled everything delicately and respectfully.
- This is a bit of a spoiler so I’ll try and keep it vague. I really appreciated how Sunny’s relationship with her previous best friend played out. It was refreshing to see such a young character stand her ground and respect herself enough to make such a tough decision.
- The parents and side characters were developed, present, and engaging. And each of the important side characters had their own story arcs. I would 100% read a spin off about Kate & Dave, they were everything.
What I Didn’t Like
- I don’t know if it was the age range (most likely) but I just never strongly connected or felt anything while reading this. I aw’d a lot but never felt emotionally invested. However, I think this is more a personal preference (this is only the 2nd middle grade book I’ve ever read) than a knock against this story.
Overall this was a really sweet middle grade contemporary and Ashely Herring Blake continues to be a favorite author of mine.