Title: Sincerely, Harriet
Author: Sarah W. Searle
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.
This story was really emotional. Nothing too dramatic happened, but some of the things that happened were really heartbreaking.
Harriet has Multiple Sclerosis. It isn’t revealed until close to the end of the book, but she has symptoms throughout the story. She drops things and stumbles sometimes, so I knew something was happening with her. She becomes close friends with a neighbour whose son had polio when he was a kid. They bond over this shared history with chronic illness.
One of the saddest parts of the story was when Harriet would send her friends postcards, pretending to do things in the city. She mostly stayed home, but she made it seem like she was doing lots of activities. The girls didn’t return her feelings, and told her to stop sending letters. It was so sad to see her be rejected like that.
This is an important story because it has a main character with a chronic illness, which isn’t common, especially in children’s books.
What to read next:
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk
Have you read Sincerely, Harriet? What did you think of it?