“A lovely, heartbreaking, warm, funny, and ultimately hopeful map of the way back home.” —Jordan Sonnenblick, author of Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie
A cancer survivor must readjust to “normal” middle school life in this “powerful story about surviving and thriving” (School Library Journal, starred review) from the author of Star-Crossed and Truth or Dare.
Norah Levy has just completed two years of treatment for leukemia and is ready to go back to the “real world” of middle school. She knows it’ll be tricky—but like the Greek mythological characters she read about while she was sick, Norah’s up for any challenge.
But seventh grade turns out to be harder than she thought. Norah’s classmates don’t know what to make of her. Her best friend, Harper, tries to be there for her, but she doesn’t get it, really—and is hanging out with a new group of girls. Norah’s other good friend, Silas, is avoiding her. What’s that about, anyway?
When Norah is placed with the eighth graders for math and science, she meets Griffin, a cute boy who encourages her love of Greek mythology and art. And Norah decides not to tell him her secret—that she was “that girl” who had cancer. But when something happens to make secret-keeping impossible, Norah must figure out a way to share her story.
But how do you explain something to others that you can’t explain to yourself? Can Nora take her cue from her favorite Greek myth? And then, once she finds the words, can she move forward with a whole new “normal?”
Dee (Star-Crossed) traces the trials of a pediatric cancer patient who returns to middle school after a two-year absence. Norah Levy, a seventh grader, has recently completed treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and is allowed to resume her "normal" life. Norah excelled with her tutor and fellow cancer survivor, Ayesha, so she's invited to take eighth grade math and science. New student Griffin seems interested in Norah; she'd like for him to notice her Greek mythology knowledge or drawing talents, and not as "Cancer Girl." But Norah's parents are nervous about her overdoing it, so they create rules meant to help her rest and continue progressing rules that inhibit her social life. Meanwhile, Norah's seventh-grade friends have mixed (and occasionally negative) reactions to her return to their suburban New York City school. Griffin is a bit too perceptive, Norah's best friend Harper unfailingly patient, and Norah herself jarringly hypercritical, even if her resentments are understandable. Still, Dee realistically explores the varied emotions of maturing middle-school students, as well as the way Norah feels singled out and patronized by classmates and adults alike. Ages 9 13.