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The Astonishing Maybe

Narrated by: Ramon De Ocampo
Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Friendship, heartbreak, and defining what family means are rarely as sensitively, beautifully portrayed in middle-grade fiction. Shaunta Grimes is an extraordinary new talent.   

Gideon hates the idea of moving to Nevada from the East Coast. It's so empty and hot in his new neighborhood. Only one person his age lives nearby: the girl next door, Roona.  

Gid notices right away that Roona is...different. She wears roller skates and a blanket as a cape when she needs to feel strong. What he doesn't bargain for, however, is how far outside his comfort zone Roona will take him as she enlists his help in finding her long-gone father. For a kid who's not allowed to ride his bike more than a few blocks from home, this will be the adventure of a lifetime.

©2019 Shaunta Grimes (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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Astonishingly Realistic Themes for Today’s Youth

•audiobook•
4.25 Stars
Some books have weird titles, but when the book has concluded, it makes sense. This doesn’t. I still don’t know why it’s called The Astonishing Maybe. But it doesn’t lose a star for that.

The Book Description compares it to a combination of the classic Pippi Longstocking and tear jerker My Girl (and I’m clueless about Waitress). Roona’s pigtails and high socks are the the only thing that connects her to Pippi. And because the topics are deep doesn’t mean it’s similar to My Girl. But it doesn’t lose a star for that either.

The book starts off as the family is moving (driving) to Nevada (the middle A is pronounced like in ‘apple’ - say it like a native) at the beginning of the summer. While unloading boxes, he sees a girl his age is his neighbor next door.

I liked how this began in a very old fashioned way. Nowa days, companies help with relocation; families fly instead of drive; kids have googled or already found friends because of social media. This book - with few (less than 5 mentions) exceptions, is reminiscent of a book written in the 70s or 80s. Readers will find a connected family with a mom, dad, and two kids. Yeah, no Snoopy or Fluffy.

By the second chapter, the band aid comes off and the Roona and Giddeon become real. To the audience and one another while playing a game of dare. And it’s obvious the secrets Roona keeps eat her upside while she puts on a smile and pretend to be Wonder Roo, her version of Super Girl.

And whoa. Boy does it become real. It wasn’t too long ago that my adult children were adolescents and teens and their friends spent more time at my home than at theirs. How many times did that phrase “put on a smile and pretend everything was okay” or how much they covered for mom/dad or took care of them. More than once I found myself counseling (advising, not providing professional medical help), guiding, advocating, or intervening.

And as Roona’s layers peeled off, that’s where it lost a star. Not because Giddeon didn’t break his promise, but because once it all unraveled, it lacked closure or guidance. But because Giddeon’s parents, with their rosy glasses and avoidance of things unpleasant, didn’t take the time to tell him how he should have handled things differently. And it seemed sooo unlike them.
And kids today sometimes need a book to tell them - because some of the readers will relate to these two teens.

Mental Illness is on the rise. Despression is more common. Coping skills is necessary - for the diagnosed and caregivers.

Overall, a strongly recommended book to listen or read. I liked the realism.

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It'd be great if this became a series

This was a very enjoyable story of devotion, courage, and friendship. I would gladly recommend it.