Tuesday, June 21, 2016

MG Realistic Fiction: Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson

Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
Format:  ARC paperback
Pages:  300
Release Date:  June 21st 2016 by Walden Pond Press
Genre:  MG Realistic Fiction
Source: Review copy provided by the  publisher in exchange for an honest review via a Giveaway hosted at Word Spelunking 

 My first introduction to John David Anderson's books was when I read The Dungeoneers for Round One of the MG Speculative Fiction Cybils, it even made it onto the finalists list. The Dungeoneers was one of my favorite books from last year.   Needless to say, when I saw that Anderson had a new book coming out and he was delving into realistic fiction, I was pretty excited to read it.  The premise sounded awesome.  

Ms. Bixby's Last Day is the kind of story that packs a punch, it centers around the tough subject of a beloved teacher who is very ill and the three students who want to give her the perfect day she has always dreamed of.  Steve is the genius, Topher is the creative artist and Brand is the new kid at school, who at first was just looking for a place to eat his lunch when he met the other two.  Since then they have been pretty good friends.  Friends who know very little about each other, except for maybe that they all like video games and pizza, but still eat lunch together every day.  Ms. Bixby is their teacher and someone who has become very important to each of them,  just how much the other doesn't know.  So, when Ms. Bixby becomes so ill that she has to leave before the end of school year party, naturally they are distraught.  There was so much that each of them had wanted to tell her.    When they also find out that Ms. Bixby's condition has gotten worse and she is now being transferred to a hospital out of town, the trio plan to skip school and visit her in the hospital. What ensues is a road trip across town gathering all of the items Ms. Bixby said makes for a "perfect day."  Their trip has its obstacles, but somehow they seem to manage to have their celebration with Ms. Bixby after all.   The beauty of Ms. Bixby's Last Day lies in finding out just what each of the boys connection to Ms. Bixby was and why she was so important to them. I just love how the story alternates between each of the three boys and we learn a little bit more about each of them.   It's such a touching story filled with humorous moments, stories about the boys at school, their home life. These three kids are so realistically portrayed that I found myself sobbing buckets when I reached the end.  I truly hope that Anderson writes another story about Topher, Steve and Brand.  Even though the book has its sad moments, Anderson always seemed to find a way to add lighter tones to the story too and by the end of their journey, I knew these boys forged a bond to last a very long time.   Ms. Bixby's Last Day will stick with me for a really long time, and I know this will be a book that I will read again and again.   A huge thank you to Aeicha at Word Spelunking  and Walden Pond Press for the autographed ARC of the book.  If you've read Ms. Bixby's Last Day, feel free to leave me your thoughts in the comments.  Otherwise, I hope you'll get the chance, it's not a book that you want to miss.  If you need further convincing, here is an excerpt from the publisher.


DMS said...

I have been seeing this one around and have it on my list of books to read. I haven't read anything by this author yet- but it sounds like I am missing out. Loved hearing your thoughts and I am glad the sad parts are lightened up a bit. :)

Brenda said...

Hope you get a chance to read it Jess, it's turning into my favorite book for 2016 thus far.

Sherry said...

I've been wanting to read this one, too. It's not in my library yet, but I hope it soon will be.

Brenda said...

I'm gonna hazard a guess that it will win all sorts of awards. Look forward to see what you thought when you finish it.

Ms. Yingling said...

I cried buckets, too. Now, you must read Anderson's Insert Coin to Continue, available at Edelweiss now. Cried a few tears at that, too.

Brenda said...

I've already put in a request for it, here's hoping I get approved.