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Book Review–Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Title:  Reaching for Sun

Author:  Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Publisher:  Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Pages: 181

ISBN:  9781599900377

Synopsis:  Josie Wyatt is a typical thirteen year old girl in many ways, none of which would be apparent to an observer.  She loves her grandmother and does not understand her mother; she endures school; she longs for a friend.  What would be apparent to an observer is that she is physically handicapped, having been born with cerebral palsy.  An observer might note, also, that she is one of many statistics, a teenage girl being raised by a single mother (mostly absent due to school and work commitments) and an elderly grandmother.  What an observer would not note, however, is the beautiful, succint, poetic voice Josie is gifted with.

My Thoughts:  In reality, of course, the one with the beautiful voice is the author, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.  This book is composed entirely of free-verse poems (which are “interlinked,” according to the fly leaf).  This is not a form I usually enjoy in a novel; however, it works beautifully here.  Zimmer captures the poignancy of being a misunderstood, handicapped, intelligent teenager in this novel.  The world of Josie is small:  just her, her mom, her Gran, and those whom she is forced to deal with at school.  However, when a new boy moves into the huge residential development close by her family’s farmhouse and finds in Josie a true friend, Josie’s world begins to open up.  The story is true-to-life, but it’s the voice that tells the story that is the real winner:

I bet a lot of kids

wish for the same thing

as I will this year

with my fourteen candles:


for things to be

just like they were.


4 Responses

  1. Sounds interesting – I may check this out.
    Thank you!

    (Visiting via Peas)

    • its a really good book. i just read this book. its amazing. and i am a 6th grade girl. and we have students like that. so yeah. if you havent yet, you should 😀

  2. […] Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer is one of those books I didn’t expect to like as much as I did.  I […]

  3. as a 6th grade girl, i see were she is coming from. when i read this, i couldnt put it down. And when i found out about jordan, i was very werid to me, i met a guy named jordan arouind the time she met him. i feel her a jordan have a very strong friendship. when the book ended, it had the right thing to it. i think it said, :”dont you hate when you are eating a pie and when there is no more, you want more?” or something like that, welll that was how the book ended. i love this book. i love the author. (:

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