Every Shiny Thing is a beautiful novel about friendship and learning how to do the right thing, told in half-poetry, half-prose.
In this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong. Lauren must learn that having good intentions isn’t all that matters when you battle injustice, and Sierra needs to realize that sometimes, the person you need to take care of is yourself.
Reasons why I loved Every Shiny Thing:
🌸 The writing.
This book is beautifully written. All of Lauren’s chapters are told in prose, while Sierra’s are told in verse. I absolutely love this, as it means that each of the two main characters has her own distinct voice. I especially love how Sierra’s voice fits—her chapters are really heart-wrenching and I felt really sad for her while reading the book.
🌸 The friendship.
One of the main focuses of Every Shiny Thing is the friendship between Lauren and Sierra. I enjoyed seeing them grow together, and their relationship is so sweet.
🌸 The character development.
Speaking of growth, let’s talk about character development! I really like Lauren’s characterization, as she grows so much over the course of the novel. Her struggle with her sense of justice and figuring out how to do the right thing was great, and I also love her growth in regards to how she treated her brother, Ryan.
🌸 The thought provocativeness. (I looked up synonyms for “thought-provoking-ness” and that’s the best one I could find, hehe.)
One of my favorite aspects of Every Shiny Thing is that it really made me think. I found many of the passages, especially the ones about privilege and all the excessive things that human beings hoard for themselves, to be incredibly powerful and thought-provoking.
🌸 The Quaker school setting.
The main characters go to a Quaker school! I’ve gone to Friends schools my entire life, <pan style=”font-size: small;”>(and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about kids in a Quaker school?)</span> so this was really fun for me. I could really relate to all the stuff about “the spices,” and the depiction overall felt spot-on.
🌸 Important issues.
Every Shiny Thing can be really hard-hitting at times, as it deals with problems like alcoholism and being separated from a parent. I really like how these topics were tackled and the feeling of hopefulness that can ultimately be felt from reading this book.
Have you read Every Shiny Thing? What are some of your favorite middle grade books that deal with tougher subjects? Talk to me in the comments!