FICTION
Sweeping Up The Heart
183p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062852540. POP
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 4 Up–Amelia Albright wakes on the first day of her spring break with low expectations for a dull week at home. While she thinks everyone else is relaxing in Florida, her vacation turns out to be anything but ordinary. As Amelia strikes up an unexpected friendship with Casey, the nephew of the owner of the art studio Amelia frequents, she wavers on the edge of feelings she has never before experienced. Casey confides in Amelia about the emotional pain with which he's struggling as he watches his parents' marriage crumble. When the pair sees a woman around town resembling Amelia's deceased mother, they theorize she is the embodiment of her spirit. While Amelia becomes increasingly hopeful about the possibility of her mother still being alive, her father's guarded personal life threatens to upset the balance of their predictable family. Guided with love and understanding by her neighbor, Mrs. O'Brien, Amelia's heart will awaken to feelings of sorrow, love, and grace. A stunning realistic fiction novel, Amelia's story is woven tightly with themes of friendship, grief, and love. In his signature classic style, Henkes perfectly captures the hope paramount to the youthful heart, while honoring difficult themes with which young readers can identify. Readers struggling with difficult family situations will identify with the protagonists.
VERDICT This smooth, compact, emotionally nuanced novel with relatable characters should be a first purchase for every library where readers' hearts are ready to melt.

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