Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

18607159 Mysti's best friend since the forth grade has been Anibal Gomez, a shy boy who is size "extra, extra large" and full of theories.  His newest theory, he is going to become a "hipster" so that he can fit in and get Sandy Showalter to notice him.  Anibal says that he can't be seen talking with Mysti while at school, and even goes so far as to tease her to gain more points with the cool kids.  Yet, Anibal also wants Mysti to take on a challenge with him.  See who can get noticed by Sandy first and make it into her circle.   Not having anyone to talk to Mysti finds herself sitting at Loser Island for lunch, but makes a new friend, Rama. Things in Mysti's life still keep changing, especially when her father ends up in the hospital and she is the one who will have to keep things going, because her mom isn't going to be any help since she never leaves the house and dad was the one who did all the outside of the house things.  How will Mysti make sure the family doesn't fall apart while trying to navigate seventh grade without her best friend?  



Mysti believes that "if your quiet, people will think your smart," so she never tried to fit in and was content with her best friend Anibal. When Anibal abandons her, she is left to try to make new friends.  Though Mysti holds on to the belief that her and Anibal are still friends. Even when he is insults her in front of the cool kids and then winks as if to say just kidding. I felt sorry for Mysti not being able to see exactly how mean Anibal was being.  She puts such faith in him though.  Mysti was quirky, imaginative, and creative.  She narrates her life and envisions herself as a character in a book. Throughout the story, Harrington gave the reader a look at Mysti's inner thoughts with little sentences like, "Here is a girl listening to songs that speak to her soul and staying up too late texting when her parental unit shouts to shut it down."  She also made up names for the people around her "Girl Who Likes Horses" and "Women Who Goes Somewhere."  Overall, Courage for Beginners is Mysti's story about finding a way to change who she is.  She feels like if she doesn't change, she will be become more like her mother (an agoraphobic who never leaves the house).  I love the transition that Mysti makes by the end of the story.  

Favorite line  What makes a hero?  "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave 5 minutes longer." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


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