GUEST WRITER ROXANNE MORNEAULT RECOMMENDS THE MIGHTY HEART OF SUNNY ST. JAMES BY ASHLEY HARRING BLAKE
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake tells the story of a twelve year- old girl named Sunny, as she begins her “new life” after a recent heart transplant.
Throughout the novel the reader learns that Sunny is unhappy with many of the decisions she made in her “old” life. (pre-heart transplant). Secrets were told and friendships were broken, which causes Sunny to create a to-do-list that she wants to accomplish as the new Sunny. Her list includes doing awesome amazing things that she could never do before including finding a new best friend and finding a boy to kiss.
As Sunny sets out to complete her list, she meets her mother who abandoned her 8 years ago. She feels confusion and has a lack of trust. Although she wants her mother to be a part of her life, her mother’s alcoholism, and new family are barriers to their relationship.
When Sunny meets Quinn, she instantly has a new best friend. Together they look for boys to kiss so that Sunny can cross this off her list. Sunny and Quinn’s friendship makes Sunny question which feelings are hers and which belong to her unknown heart donor as she finds herself attracted to Quinn. In the end, they end up sharing a kiss and discovering that they have feelings for each other.
This novel would be a good read for many students as Sunny is a character that many teens could relate to. There are themes of health, friendship, adoptive and biological parents, and romantic relationships. Also, this novel explores the idea of trying to change who you are and whether this is possible.
Roxanne teaches grade 7 and 8 LA at Sunbury West School.