The story is beyond lovely, the characters in the book are so real and true to life. I have thought that also about the characters in ‘The Last Garden’ from what I have heard of Mum reading out loud. I love the way ‘Miracle Girl’ grips you, making it very difficult to put down, but not in the ordinary way, what I’m trying to say is it doesn’t seem like a thriller or a book you have to find out what the end is so you can detach yourself from it, although i guess it is like that in a way because you are holding your breath all the way through wondering if what appears the evident, her mothers death, will or will not happen. Don’t tell me because I haven’t found out yet! Comparing it to other books yours has such an original voice. So interesting and unaffected, so thoughtful and moral._
R.W-B [Devon, UK]
Write Away Review by Anne Krisman
When Rachel’s mother becomes seriously ill with cancer, Rachel faces turmoil. She is in her GCSE year and has a starring role in the school play. Her family is fraught with tensions, her little brother lost and needy and her friendships a problem. The book explores how she faces these challenges and earns her mother’s name for her – Miracle Girl.
Miracle Girl is an immensely readable book that tackles a tragic theme with a sense of hope and optimism. It plots the journey that Rachel, a sixteen year old, takes from the first inkling of her mother’s terminal illness, through her hospitalisation, treatment and death. It is all done through the familiarity of Rachel’s voice, who is almost confiding in us. This makes a potentially depressing theme something more uplifting. The reader experiences the highs and lows in Rachel’s life, her feelings towards her mother, issues at school and her boyfriend problems, as if they are hearing it from a friend. The author, Ellis J DelMonte, has particular success in depicting Rachel’s developing relationship with her mother as her terminal illness progresses.
Each chapter has a miracle title – Feeding the Hungry, Pillar of Fire, Walking on Water and so on, although the biblical links are more to do with her mother’s loving name for her and in her interest in school RE rather than belief in God. The father in the book seems to follow a common recent trend of being unable to show his feelings and being a bit of a letdown. The nan is warmly depicted, wise and supportive. The key question for the reader is “Does this really feel like a 16 year old girl talking?”
I did feel swept along, and the school stuff felt very real. The intensity involved with the rehearsing of the school performance of Macbeth, and the relationships that develop as a result, struck a chord with my school days. Odd moments didn’t work for me, for example, the chat that Rachel had with Mrs Patel in the hospital felt a little dated and uncomfortable, although the writer’s intentions were positive. However, this is a small criticism of a book that succeeds in being a good read as well as managing to tackle head-on some very deep life issues.
Any girt in the situation that the author describes would find this book a particular comfort, and he gives a moving credit in the acknowledgement to those involved with the hospice movement, ‘who quietly give their lives to alleviate pain and suffering, which has to be one of the best, if unsung ways to lead a life’.