Rummanah Aasi
 Maya J. Jenkins is bursting with questions: Will she get the MVP award at this year's soccer banquet?Who will win the big grill off between Daddy and Uncle J?When will she pass the swim test and get a green bracelet?For answers and a dose of good luck, 12-year-old Maya turns to her Wheel of Fortunes, a cardboard circle covered with the small slips of wisdom she's collected from fortune cookies.
      But can the fortunes answer her deep-down questions? The ones she's too scared to ask out loud? Like, where did Mama's smile go, the real one that lit up everything around her? When will Daddy move back home? And most of all, does she have enough courage to truly listen to the voice in her heart?

Review: Maya "MJ" Jenkins is a flautist, a soccer player, and a collector of fortune-cookie fortunes. Lately, she feels like she has to play her flute in secret while pursuing to be a Charger soccer player, a team which her father played as a young boy. Her dad loves soccer and instead of disappointing him, she decides to go into her "quiet mode" so that she can recenter herself and engage with the music. She also seeks advice from a wheel that she has created out of fortune cookie strips that she saves from her family's "Fried Rice Fridays."
  Unexpectedly, MJ's world is turned upside down when her parents announce that they will be doing a trial separation. While MJ knew her parents had "whisper-fighting" for months, she didn't anticipate this. Naturally, MJ feels betrayed and isolated. Her mood worsens when her best friend is chosen as the soccer team's MVP instead of Maya. 
   The Many Fortunes of Maya gives a realistic slice of life of a tween who is trying to navigate her parents tension, learn how to choose what's best for her without feeling like she is letting her parents down, and deal with changing friendship dynamics. Each of these themes are handled carefully, delicately, and realistically. I found each chapter opening to a fortune cookie saying to be fun and I thought they complemented the story and MJ's emotional compass quite well, but not necessarily in the ways she had anticipated. While I really enjoyed the sections where MJ was emotionally vulnerable and open with her parents, I would have liked more of those scenes. I would also have liked for the book to be a bit longer so we can further develop MJ's relationship with her parents on a one on one basis. Overall MJ's story ends on a hopeful note and I'm sure many young readers will enjoy it.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: The Three Rules of Everyday Magic by Amanda Rawson Hill, See You on a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder
1 Response
  1. A book about divorce is a great idea as so many kids are experiencing it in their own families.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails