Sixth-grader Iris Abernathy hates life in Corvallis, Oregon, where her family just moved. It's always raining, and everything is so wet . Besides, nothing has felt right since Iris's best friend, Sarah, died.
When Iris meets Boris, an awkward mouth-breather with a know-it-all personality, she's not looking to make a new friend, but it beats eating lunch alone. Then she learns that Boris's very existence is a medical mystery, maybe even a miracle, and Iris starts to wonder why some people get miracles and others don't. And if one miracle is possible, can another one be too? Can she possibly communicate with Sarah again?
"*Starred Review* Sixth-grader Iris hates her new home in rainy Corvallis, Oregon. The move from Southern California was ostensibly because of her mother's new job. But another compelling motivation was the accidental death of Iris' best friend, a tragedy that she witnessed. Iris finally makes a friend in Corvallis: Boris, a quirky nerd who is, just barely, better than nothing. Then Iris learns something astounding about Boris. He was not expected to live when he was born, but a group of nuns, dedicated to making Pope Paul a saint, prayed to him, and Boris was cured. An Italian committee from the Vatican is headed to Oregon to make sure that Boris' case can be counted as a miracle. This information intrigues Iris. Do miracles really happen? Who gets a miracle and who decides? And perhaps Iris' sense that Sarah is still around her may be the beginning of a miracle, if Iris can only make contact. The atmospherically dull, rain-swept landscape becomes almost another character as Iris tries to push away the fog, both literal and mental. She asks the questions that many children would ask in this circumstance, and the book puts a smart circle of caring adults to help her find answers. But it is her realistic relationship with the matter-of-fact Boris, a most unlikely miracle, that will catch readers and help pull them toward seeking answers of their own for the story's very large questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Arnold (Sacred) sensitively examines grief and the big questions that arise when someone dies unexpectedly. Sixth-grader Iris Abernathy's family moves from California to Corvallis, Ore., shortly after the death of Iris's best friend Sarah. Iris wants nothing to do with her rainy new home ("She hated it, even if it was beautiful"), her father's ambitious plans to grow a lush garden and raise chickens, or anyone at school-until she meets kind outsider Boris. After Iris learns that Boris barely survived infancy (his devoutly Catholic family believes his inexplicable medical recovery was a genuine miracle and is attempting to have it certified as such by the Vatican), she is inspired to attempt to contact Sarah's ghost, who Iris thinks is currently residing in the cabinet under the stairs in the old farmhouse they have moved into. Arnold's heroine confronts her emotions honestly (even when she's putting on a brave face to mask what she really thinks or feels), and her slow, difficult journey to understand the absence left in Sarah's wake unfolds with heartbreaking believability. Ages 9-12. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved