Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Nora’s life changed forever when she lost her father and home in a fire.

redstarCRUZ, Marie Miranda. Everlasting Nora. 288p. Tor/Starscape. Jul. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780765394590.

Gr 3-6 –Nora’s life changed forever when she lost her father and home in a fire. Nora and her mother now live in her father’s mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery in the Philippines. Nora spends her days dreaming about when she can go back to school as she sells daisy chains to funeral visitors. Nora and her mother also serve as labanderas, or washerwomen, to various people in the nearby community. But they continue to lose jobs as Nora’s mother’s gambling addiction grows. Nora’s situation often feels hopeless, and after her mother’s disappearance, she takes matters into her own hands. The girl feels there is no one she can trust after being conned and deserted by extended family in the past, but along the way discovers she has a greater support system than she expected in her fellow cemetery squatters, especially Jojo and his grandmother who help and support her even when things get dangerous. Cruz offers an important and engaging tale. Filipino terms are interspersed throughout, and unfamiliar readers can rely on context clues to keep the natural flow of the story. There is also a glossary at the back. At its heart, this is a story about friendship and family—the one we’re born into and the one we make. VERDICT This moving title should find a place in all libraries looking for authentic and powerful middle grade stories.–Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer ­Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2018 issue.

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