#1104 – Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught

thingstoohugetofixbysayingsorry Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry
Written by Susan Vaught
A Paul Wiseman Book
9/06/2016
978-1-4814-2279-6
344 pages    Ages 9+

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“‘Sooner or later, we’re all gonna be okay.’

“That’s what Dani’s Grandma Beans used to say. But that was before she got Alzheimer’s. Lately, Dani isn’t so sure Grandma Beans was right. In fact, she isn’t sure of a lot of things, like Mac Richardson suddenly doesn’t want to be her friend, and why Grandma Beans and Avadelle Richardson haven’t spoken in decades. Lately, Grandma Beans doesn’t make a lot of sense. But when she tells Dani to find a secret key and envelope that she’s hidden, Dani can’t ignore her. So she investigates, with the help of her friend, Indri, and her not-friend, Mac. Their investigation takes them deep into the history of Oxford, Mississippi, and the riots surrounding the desegregation of Ole Miss. The deeper they dig, the more secrets they uncover. Were Grandma Beans and Avadelle at Ole Miss the night of the Meredith riot? And why would they keep that a secret?

“The more Dani learns about her grandma’s past, the more she learns about herself and her own friendships—and it’s not all good news. History and present day collide in this mystery that explores profound consequences of racism and segregation.” [INSIDE JACKET]

Review
[WC 466]
Twelve-year-old Dani, who is biracial, suddenly loses her best friend, Mac, who is white, and the grandson of Avadelle Richardson. Richardson wrote a best-selling novel set during the 1961 race riots in Mississippi, which caused the “Magnolia Feud” between her and her best friend, historian Ruth Beans, who is Dani’s grandmother. At home, Dani’s father deals with high blood pressure—the effects of three wars in the army. He spends copious amounts of time tending their garden while mom works two jobs to keep the family afloat. Grandma Ruth Beans lays ailing with Alzheimer’s and nearing her final days. The closer she gets the more agitated she seems.

Ruth gives Dani a secret key and a letter explaining that Dani can do what she wants with the contents of the box. Dani will do most anything to relieve her grandmother’s stress so she may die peacefully. The idea of the facts surrounding the “Magnolia Feud” becoming public greatly upsets Avadelle. She tries to throw-off Dani at every turn. With the help of her friend Indri, Dani begins the long search for the mysterious box, learning more about her grandmother than she thought possible. Mac joins in, hoping to keep peace at home with his grandmother Avadelle.

The story of three friends searching for missing history and possibly the cause of a well-known feud will keep readers glued to the pages. Filled with the actual history surrounding the 1961 race riots at the University of Mississippi, the fictional story and the real events often meld into one another, making for a compelling read, and one which will undoubtedly win many well-deserved awards. Susan Vaught states in her author’s note that she witnessed much of what she wrote, as a child about Dani’s age. Reading this little fact after finishing the story only makes you more invested in the outcome. Why do history books leave out so many important and often vital parts of an event? How much history is lost because of race?

One need not be a history buff to enjoy Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry. Dani and her family are endearing characters as are Mac and his family.. All of these characters pop off the page, fully engaged and developed. The only one difficult is Ms. Richardson, who does her best to thwart anyone looking for answers. Vaught skillfully takes readers on a well-groomed ride from past to present throwing in humor when needed and to wonderful effect. Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry can be a fast, easy read, but I would suggest slowing down and savoring the content, the atmosphere, and the similarities between the characters, regardless of race or age. Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry is a thought-provoking page-turner, and should be required reading for all middle graders.

THINGS TOO HUGE TO FIX BY SAYING SORRY. Text copyright © 2016 by Susan Vaught. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, A Paul Wiseman Book / Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

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Add THINGS TOO HUGE TO FIX BY SAYING SORRY to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Read an Excerpt HERE.

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Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry
Written by Susan Vaught
A Paul Wiseman Book
9/06/2016
9781481422796

 

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