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The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb ⇉ Junior High + All the Feels + #INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

Monday, May 22, 2017
You know those books that make you feel all sorts of feels? The books that make you want to share them with the world, but you don't know what to say?

That's how it feels putting down The History of Hilary Hambrushina.

To understand what I love about this novel, we need to start off with...

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

An Immature Heroine
To be honest, I was tempted to throw Hilary out the window after the first quarter of the novel. Hilary starts out as a terribly naive girl who thinks she's fat and desperately wants to be a part of the popular crowd. Her comments on her family, herself, and her wants broke my heart. I wanted to tell her that this is not what life is about.

What kept me reading was the belief that Hilary would learn and mature over the course of the novel. Not only did this happen, but I wasn't ready for the feels that would come with Hilary's growth.

Flat, Stereotypical "Villains"
Like many school-life stories, Hilary features stereotypical villains in the form of the "in" crowd. For the most part, these characters act in predictable ways.

That said, I like the nod to the insecurities that lead people to behave in "villainous" ways.

As Hilary learns, there are two sides to every story. (Now, does that mean everyone will grow up, hold hands, and frolick together through green meadows? No, but at least we can try to understand why people do what they do.)

WHAT I LOVED

Supportive Adults That Care and Are Involved
Too many stories feature incompetent or otherwise absent adults. Sure, like any other teenager, Hilary spends quite a bit of time upset with her mom and believes that her mom won't understand what she's going through. However, her mom and dad and a consistent presence in her life, and they're ready to step in when she needs them.

Hilary is blessed with adults outside of the family as well. Kallie's mother provides an exemplary role model of a pretty woman who also has a job in the math and sciences. Kallie's father is an artist. (Both parents are involved in Kallie's life, and they have a loving relationship.) Kallie's grandmother gives Hilary advice, albeit through tarot card reading.

Terrific Teachers: Recognizing Everyday Heroes
As a teacher, I teared up over Miss Stephanopoulos's support and care for her students. I'm also a teacher, and I love how she involves her students in fun projects that make them think about who they are and where they came from. I love how she lets Hilary (and other students) know through her words and actions that she is there for them.

Most of all, I love that she doesn't play favorites but reaches out to those that she knows is in need. (Read to the end to find out more. I can't say more on this because of potential spoilers.)

When We Find What We're Looking For in a Likely Yet Unlikely Source
Hilary spends much of the novel trying to fit life into her expectations of it. As veterans of life know, "life happens." It doesn't always turn out as we planned, and sometimes, the best things have always been there waiting for us to find them.

Hilary Grows Up, and She Isn't Perfect
Even after all she's learned, Hilary has a lot of growing to do. Because narrator Hilary is reflecting on events from five years into the future (I'm guessing around the end of high school), she recognizes her flaws. She is able to comment on the mistakes that she made and the flaws in her thinking, which she thought justifiable at the time of the story.

I believe strongly in being a lifelong learner. I love how events do not wrap up neatly but instead challenge us to think about how we ourselves may continue growing.

In the end, Hilary's story presents a realistic portrayal of life.

That's what I love most about it. It's why we can all relate in some way to Hilary's story. It's why we rage, weep, and finally rejoice when the heroine makes it through her trials at the end of a novel. Because we've been her, and we understand what she's been thought.

Themes: Friendship, Insecurity, Bullying, Family, Love (not in the romantic sense), Forgiveness


★★★★☆


Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being “cool,” Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary's obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.



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Publication Info
  • The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb
  • Published by Iguana Books
  • On May 31, 2017
  • Genres: ContemporaryMiddle Grade
  • Pages: 206 Pages
  • Format: Paperback
Series
  • N/A
Content
  • Bullying
  • Name calling

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel for review. All thoughts expressed are my personal honest opinions.




GIVEAWAY


Thanks to the author Marnie Lamb, I have two giveaways for you.

(1) U.S. / CANADA
- Donation of C$10 to a charity of your choice (must be legit and easy to donate online)
- A signed copy of The History of Hilary Hambrushina (for yourself or a friend)

(2) INTERNATIONAL
- Donation of C$10 to a charity of your choice (must be legit and easy to donate online)
- An e-copy of The History of Hilary Hambrushina (for yourself or a friend)

MAY THE ODDS BE IN YOUR FAVOR.


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