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By Denise Turney
Because the love of reading packs countless benefits the sooner the love is sprung, I have made a point to read and review a few young adult books in our bi-monthly book review column. Miracle’s Boys is another young adult book I have reviewed thus far this year. This is a book I enjoyed so much, I am certain adults will enjoy Miracle’s Boys as much as teens do.
Miracle’s Boys is the story of three brothers. At the start of the story it is clear that an event has happened upon the family that has left it forever changed. In fact, nothing is as it formerly was. Not only has the mother of the three boys died unexpectedly, the boys father died several years earlier while rescuing a dog from a pool of water in New York City. The changes find one of the brothers toying with the idea of a life of easy living and harder crime. He was only 12 years old when his mother died; too much seems to have happened to him and his brothers. Confused and unable to see any other direction he can take, he saddles up with a group of kids who are absent positive focus or vision. The choices the 12 year old brother makes alter his attitude and his personality in ways that frighten his younger brother who has the unfortunate role of watching his brother change before his very eyes.
Throughout the book one aspect remains constant -- the oldest brothers love and care for his siblings. Scarcely old enough to drive, he takes his two brothers beneath his wing and supports them with agency funds, the help of an aunt down South and money he makes from his full-time job.
Miracle’s Boys shows how gaining what one desires most may require letting go of another dream or goal. The sacrifices the oldest brother makes for his two younger siblings are admirable. The setting for Miracle’s Boys is New York City. Not much is kind about the neighborhood the brothers grow up in. Throughout the story the author provides the reader backdrop (background information) on events from the boys’ past that cause them to have the specific motivations, fears and dreams that they have. Teens struggling to make difficult choices (and see how those choices impact their daily lives) as well as adults needing to be encouraged about the magnitude of the growing human spirit will find valuable lessons, insights and much entertainment through reading Miracle’s Boys.
Jacqueline Woodson, winner of two Coretta Scott King literary honors, does an excellent job of accurately portraying the ups and downs and unique challenges experienced by teens growing up in today’s world. The writing respects the reader and does not write-down to young adults. Woodson obviously values the lessons gained from her own youth and readily shares what she has learned with her readers in Miracle’s Boys.
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