Eleven-year-old Bailey believes in miracles. She has to; it will take a miracle to keep her warring parents together. This summer they are at a Marriage Counselling camp, leaving Bailey and her little brother Kevin with their estranged grandmother in the island town of Felicity Bay. There, an eccentric deposed minister makes a prophecy that a stranger from the sea will change everything. When Bailey discovers a mermaid-shaped piece of driftwood, she begins to believe that the mermaid is this stranger from the sea. Then, when a dolphin becomes stranded on the beach, Bailey forgets her own troubles and rouses the reluctant locals into action. Written in light and lyrical free verse, Shari Green’s warm and wistful novel brings Bailey face to face with both hard and beautiful truths about growing up and growing into her own ability to shape the world.
This title is written in free verse, with dialogue written in italics and spacing used to indicate new voices. All of these techniques enhance the rich descriptions of the ocean setting and present a realistic story to the reader. Recommended.
[I]t is a way to gently explore some of the changes many children face today.
Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is Shari Green’s debut novel but it is an accomplished story in form and content worthy of a seasoned writer....Balancing structure with plot is complicated. Yet Shari Green dives right in, creating characters and circumstances that effortlessly carry the reader from beginning to end on waves of sentiments, some fearful, most benevolent, all heartfelt. Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is in itself a miracle...
This novel in verse is beautifully written. It is sure to find many fans in the middle grades, and would make a terrific read-aloud for the first few weeks of school while teachers are trying to inspire community spirit within their own classrooms.
Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green is just delightful....Green’s writing has whimsy and heart...Whimsical, hopeful and at times bittersweet, I highly recommend Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles.
I was impressed at how easily the author developed such unforgettable characters using free verse, all while building a great plot with excellent pacing. I know I would have loved this book as a tween, and I highly recommend it. It’s delightful and poignant and one of my favorite books so far of 2017.
What I Loved: Well, lots of things! In no particular order, I loved the language....I loved how all the conflicts were not favorably resolved....I loved how island life was a natural part of the story. Highly recommended for the middle grader in your life.
Dialogue written in italics, along with spacing between speakers, renders the narrative accessible and immediate to readers... Recommend this lovely and poignant novel to middle grade readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories.
Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles tackles some serious problems common among kids today….Not everything can be fixed, but sharing a problem with someone who loves us makes it easier to bear….[A]n excellent choice for thoughtful middle-grade readers and would make a valuable addition to a school or classroom library. It's also a fine complement to the verse novels of K.A. Holt, and a stepping stone to the work of authors like Sonya Sones, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Martine Leavitt.
Told in verse-novel form, Green’s writing is captivatingly visual, with seamless inclusions of figurative language. As with many other verse-novels, a first-person narrative, told from the present tense, makes the story immediate and compelling.
Writing in verse, Green aptly captures the journey of a girl faced with her first real heartbreak—the likely dissolution of her family. Bailey’s openness to confronting her reality while still believing in the extraordinary adds to her charm, as does her growing realization that heartache affects many others in her life as well.