Title: Artichoke Hearts
Author: Sita Brahmachari
Format: Paperback | 336 pages
Genre: Children's | YA | Contemporary
Mira Levenson's family is always chaotic - with a little brother and baby sister, busy parents and her artistic, outspoken grandma. She loves them all, but sometimes it feels like nothing is private and there's nowhere for Mira to just be herself. And the thing is…Mira does have secrets - her beloved Nana Josie is dying, she's drifting away from her best friend, and she can't stop thinking about mysterious, confident Jide Jackson, who is definitely keeping some secrets of his own.
Everything's spinning out of control…can Mira let someone into her heart when it feels like it's about to break?
Told from 12 year old Mira's point of view, Artichoke Hearts is a coming of age story focusing on a young girl's thoughts and feelings as she waits for her grandmother to die.
I don't usually read books like this one. I was a little apprehensive when I saw that the main character is so much younger than me. Not that I don't read books with teens as the protagonists, it is in most YA, but Mira is young even for most YA. I was unsure, but I just decided to give it a go anyway.
As the book went on I liked Mira more and more. She was very down to earth, especially with what her character was going through, and her thoughts about her experiences were something every reader should relate to in some way. I loved how realistic the character's reactions to everything were - there were no huge breakdowns and 'how will I live after this' kind of attitude, it was all reasonable reactions that would happen to everyone. In a way, that made it all the more emotional.
I thought the book had a pretty slow start. It seemed so different in the beginning too, there was so much focus on art and all that good stuff and then things suddenly took a depressing turn. I realise that's how it should be, but I thought there wasn't really a transition in between. It kind of jumped from Nana Josie still being so enthusiastic to do whatever she needs to, and then next thing you know she's in a hospice. Yes, things can happen that quickly, but the way it read just didn't sit right with me.
There was a huge variation in characters which I adored. Every character, whether they played a huge part or not, made a really big difference to the story. There were characters that were only mentioned once or twice and they still managed to make my heart hurt. Whether I enjoyed the story or not, an author who can give a character that depth is very talented.
All in all I really liked this read. It was a little slow at times but the characters were wonderful and the plot was very touching. I would definitely recommend it.
My rating: 7/10