Sovern, Megan Jean. The Meaning of Maggie. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2014. ISBN 978-1-4521-1021-9. $16.99. Grades 5 and up.
For Maggie, the eleventh year of her life is filled with love and wonder. Told as one large flashback, Maggie reflects on the year she turns eleven, falls in love, and loses the science fair all while her father is slowly dying. Her “cool” dad is her sidekick on many of her adventures, while her mother is taking a role as the primary breadwinner. As a self-proclaimed next President of the United States-to-be, Maggie is beyond her peers intellectually but is fragile enough to be sheltered from certain things by her mother and older sisters. Maggie’s father, recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, is losing feeling in his limbs. Her father’s favorite, she is determined to get to the bottom of things at whatever cost. This sweet novel is a coming of age story in which a circumstance beyond her control makes Maggie grow up more than she could have expected.
A light read, this sweet story is one that can be incorporated into a student group who may have issues with a disabled or terminally ill parent. Even more, the main character, Maggie, is extremely academically intelligent but lacks the emotional intelligence to deal with her father’s gradual physical decline. Readers will relate to Maggie and her inquisitive nature, sibling rivalry, and natural innocence.
Realistic Fiction Brooke Gerlach, Manheim Central Middle School