Friday, March 16, 2018

The Science of Breakable Things

29414515Keller, Tae. The Science of Breakable Things
March 6th 2018 by Random House
ARC provided by publisher through Follett's First Look Program

Natalie is dealing with a lot-- her best friend, Mikayla, no longer talks to her; she likes her teacher Mr. Neely but is occasionally overwhelmed by his enthusiasm; and her mother is so depressed that she doesn't get out of bed most days. Natalie knows this is because her mother was fired from her job at the university botany department by Mikayla's mother, but she wishes that she had her "old" mother back. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter the Egg Drop competition for her science inquiry project, Natalie doesn't really want to, but thinks that she could use the prize money to cheer her mother up by taking her to Mexico to see the rare Cobalt Blue orchid that she was studying. Natalie works with her best friend, Twig, whose mother was a super model and doesn't always see eye to eye with her daughter, and eventually the two work with Dari, a fairly new student as well. Dari is very smart, but is having trouble making friends. The group tries many different ways to cushion their eggs for the drop (my favorite is using marshmallows and chocolate for the S'megg! If only they had incorporated a graham cracker box!). They sneak into the school to practice dropping the egg from a height, and their stealth tactics come in handy later in the book. Natalie's father is a therapist who makes Natalie see Dr. Doris to talk, and eventually things come to a head and her mother also must be brought into the conversation.
Strengths: The situation with Mikayla is SO true to life. Very strange things happen with middle school friendships, and the reasons aren't always clear. There is a good mix of home and school life that I wish I would see in more books. Natalie's ethnic heritage is interesting-- her father is half Italian and half Korean (but not being interested in anything Korean), and her mother is described as having blonde hair. There's a lot of support for Natalie all around, even though it isn't always effective. There are enough other things going on in the story to make the book interesting. Love the cover.
Weaknesses: I have come to the conclusion that I am the only person involved in #MGLit who is tired of all of the depressing stories. Everyone else (including Kate DiCamillo and Matt de la Pena) and is coming out with articles about why Sad Is Good. Fine. It must some horrible, Trump-induced Zeitgeist. I don't get it, but I have given up complaining. All I know is that sad books make me sad, and I don't need any help in that direction. I think a much better plan, when bad things happen, is to ignore them and move on. NO ONE agrees.
What I really think: I will probably purchase. The cover is appealing, the length is right, and it's less depressing than a lot of books.

TWO-WEEK BLOG TOUR (March 5th – 16th)
Week One:
·         3/5/18: Mommy Ramblings
·         3/6/18: The OWL
·         3/7/18: Bumbles and Fairy Tales
·         3/8/18: Cracking the Cover
·         3/9/18: The Book Reaper
Week Two:
·         3/12/18: Fiktshun
·         3/13/18: Word Spelunking
·         3/14/18: The Lovely Books Blog
·         3/15/18: Oh, For the Hook of a Book
·         3/16/18: Ms. Yingling Reads

Ms. Yingling


  1. Anonymous10:12 AM EDT

    I agree. I don't like the sad books either. And I have found that most kids want the humorous stuff. Yes, the depressing stuff has a place. I had a friend that loved the V. C. Andrews books when she was in middle/high school because it showed her that her life could be worse. (she was sexually and physically abused by stepdad). But I am with you -books don't have to be depressing to be good. If something bad happens, deal with it and move on!

  2. I'm with you about depressing stories. I just try to ignore them completely, so you don't hear much from me about it :-). My daughter's teacher recently recommended Mockingbird for her. I let her try it, but was fine with her not being interested, at 7, in what is a pretty depressing topic overall.

  3. I agree with you. It's like reading misery memoirs - I always say that if I want to hear about someone's depressing life I'll just sit at the reference desk for an hour and someone will come in and tell me!

  4. I enjoyed this book. Thinking about the grown-up reading that I do, I've come to the conclusion that many of my favorite books are heavy and depressing type reads. Not sure why I gravitate to "sad" books.