I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley
Paperback release date: May 7th 2019
Rep: latinx, chronically ill/disabled (MS), black, queer/questioning (no labels)
Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.
This was a great look into Harriet’s life, but I wish it was longer.
The art was cute and it carried the story, adding depth and a more intimate touch. The best way I can describe the drawing style is soft; the colour palette on each page is limited and the characters’ bodies are realistic.
Harriet’s family is latinx and her neighbour Pearl is black. As their relationship develop we learn about Pearl’s son’s disability and it makes a great start for discussions about medical racism. Harriet’s disability is part of her daily life and her symptoms are normalized; she knows she deserves love and friendship, not regardless of her disability, but as a whole disabled person.
The main reason why I wish the book was longer (or had a sequel) is that we see that Harriet has a crush on a girl. The strength of the art work shines again as we are able to see that she is starting to question her sexuality even if it isn’t addressed in the larger story. I appreciate the representation we do get because this is still a book that children from homophobic families would be allowed to pick up.
I can’t wait to pick up more by this author and I will request for my library to buy it.