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For fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Ali Benjamin comes a poignant yet hopeful novel about a girl navigating grief, trauma, and friendship, from Ashley Herring Blake, the award-winning author of Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World.

Hazel Bly used to live in the perfect house with the perfect family in sunny California. But when a kayaking trip goes horribly wrong, Mum is suddenly gone forever and Hazel is left with crippling anxiety and a jagged scar on her face. After Mum’s death, Hazel, her other mother, Mama, and her little sister, Peach, needed a fresh start. So for the last two years, the Bly girls have lived all over the country, never settling anywhere for more than a few months.

When the family arrives in Rose Harbor, Maine, there’s a wildness to the small town that feels like magic. But when Mama runs into an old childhood friend — Claire — suddenly Hazel’s tight-knit world is infiltrated. To make it worse, she has a daughter Hazel’s age, Lemon, who can’t stop rambling on and on about the Rose Maid, a local 150-year-old mermaid myth.

Soon, Hazel finds herself just as obsessed with the Rose Maid as Lemon is — because what if magic were real? What if grief really could change you so much, you weren’t even yourself anymore? And what if instead you emerged from the darkness stronger than before?

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

Praise for Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World:
A Stonewall Children's & Young Adult Honor Book
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"Blake captures all the exhilaration of a first crush without shying away from Ivy's confusion.... The sisters' relationship is one of the great rewards of this novel that includes a large and vivid cast of secondary characters, who give the story its sense of abundant texture."
New York Times Book Review
"There are some books that we never forget. This is one of those books. Impactful, emotional, and important."
Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery award-winning author of Hello, Universe
* " Ivy's story is no mere niche-filler in LGBTQ middle-grade realism -- it's a standard-setter."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Filling a much-needed gap in middle grade literature, this story addresses not just the topic of a first crush, but also the invisibility frequently felt by middle children...Young readers will find Ivy's challenges very real and will sympathize with her choices, both good and bad."
School Library Journal, starred review
* "This is an emotionally sensitive and elegantly written novel about loss and the first stirrings of love."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James:
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James is a moving coming of age story that is not only engaging to read but is also deeply important. Sunny is a funny, thoughtful, and wonderfully rendered character who will stay with you long after you have finished reading.—Aisha Saeed, New York Times bestselling author of Amal Unbound
"The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James will make you ache for the twelve-year-old you once were, and anxious to share this book with every pre-teen you know. I may be Ashley Herring Blake's biggest fan!"—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Times}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Shannon Hitchcock, author of One True Way and Ruby Lee & Me
"The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James pulls at the heart strings from the very first sentence. Part soul-crushing, part soul-fulfilling, laced in humor and unwavering hope. Readers will root for Sunny from start to finish. Ashley Herring Blake hits all the feels with this one. Love is love is Love. Surely a message we all can get on board with!"—Tami Charles, author of Like Vanessa and Definitely Daphne
"In The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, Ashley Herring Blake honors the big, messy emotions inherent in being a preteen girl. Sunny is portrayed with such deep empathy and respect that she's destined to be a treasured friend for readers. This book is a joy."—Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl
"Sunny's bravery and buoyant spirit as she explores the truth about her family and herself will leave a lasting impression on the reader's heart."
Barbara Dee, author of Everything I Know About You and Halfway Normal
* "A sweet and gentle story of self-discovery and a beautiful addition to the growing genre of middle-grade realism featuring girls who like girls."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "A heartwarming and engaging tale that treats Sunny's emerging sexual identity with care, authenticity, and age appropriateness."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "[The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James] is an accomplished, layered, moving story featuring a girl questioning her sexuality. Bighearted in every way."—Booklist, starred review
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