Monday, September 12, 2016

Book of the Week:
A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids

A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids

by Shelley Tougas
Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2016
272 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62672-403-7
Ages 9-12

“There’s no Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids. How is that possible?” Mary’s invitation to be in her older cousin’s wedding launches a laugh-out-loud story genuine in its depth and warmth. Mary’s family is about to move to North Dakota to join her dad, who’s been there for a job since their small-town family hardware store failed. Middle school-aged Mary and her younger brother, Luke, are staying with their grandmother and bride-to-be Edie’s family in St. Paul for the summer while their mom, exhausted from holding things together at home alone, joins their dad to find a place they all can live. Mary’s been charged with keeping her mom’s big secret: The past year has been so economically and emotionally challenging that Luke hasn’t had his First Communion. It makes for some artful dodging on Sundays. Mary also wants to help unassertive Edie, who struggles with social anxiety, have the wedding she wants. And she keeps thinking about Brent, the boy she punched just before the end of the school year. He’s a bully. She hates him. What’s harder to acknowledge is that she was cruel to him, too. Through it all, including a hint of romance with Nick, the boy next door, Mary offers earnest and amusing prayers to various saints for help dealing with immediate predicaments and long-terms worries. Her Catholic family and other characters are drawn with realism and affection in an entertaining, insightful novel about family, friends, enemies, faith, and compassion. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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