Ask anyone in Roosevelt Cove, New York: Daisy Rubens and Ruby Affini come as a pair.
Daisy—Jewish, curly-haired, and freckled—approaches the world with caution and an analytical mind. Meanwhile Ruby—Catholic, with olive-toned skin and straight, dark hair—sees magic everywhere and isn’t afraid of anything. When Ruby dies in an accident the summer before sixth grade, Daisy finds herself bereft of wonder. With the patience and compassion of her loving parents, her whimsical Aunt Toby, and some unfamiliar faces at school and synagogue, she slowly discovers new joy in life. Each character is richly imagined, their idiosyncrasies pondered and celebrated as Daisy parses her way through a world of connections without her best friend by her side. The novel finds its title in the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, and Daisy’s journey is one of repairing herself. Depictions of Jewish life and belief—in all its contemporary formulations—ring true, but where the novel really shines is through its use of sensory and emotional details. With incredible specificity and heart, Epstein carries Daisy through her grief, demystifying the experience of tragedy for her middle-grade audience. The book reads like a field guide for surviving the unimaginable: the prose simple but clearsighted, the plot an unassuming canvas against which characters and emotions bloom.
An accessible look at grief, spirituality, and growth. (Fiction. 8-12)
~ Kirkus Reviews
When 11-year-old Daisy loses her best friend, her world breaks, and my heart broke along with it. But as Daisy discovers the way through her grief is to connect, to create, to repair, I felt my own heart knitting itself back together, right along with Daisy’s. This is a profound and lovely book about loss, grace and the beauty and magic that is all around us.
~ Gayle Forman, author of the New York Times best-selling, If I Stay, and Frankie & Bug
In this brilliantly honest exploration of grief, hope, second chances, and Jewish identity, Epstein grabs you by the heart and doesn't let go. Have your tissues ready for this pitch-perfect middle-grade.
~ Veera Hiranandani, author of Newberry Honor winner, The Night Diary and Sidney Taylor Book Award winner, How to Find What You’re Not Looking For
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re: is a chapbook of poetry gleaned from poems written over the last 40 years. Divided into three parts–air, matter, and motion–the collection includes poems about love and loss, musings about art and god, reflections on the body and being. Buy one here.