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Imperfect Spiral

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  607 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Danielle Snyder's summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she's watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 26th 2013 by Walker Childrens (first published July 16th 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Kacey Vanderkarr
Jul 12, 2013 Kacey Vanderkarr rated it it was amazing
I received an e-copy of Imperfect Spiral from Net Galley. All opinions are my own. I did not receive compensation, monetary or otherwise, for my review.

Imperfect Spiral is the kind of book I love to read. To say it was artfully arranged would be an understatement.

The story revolves around Humphrey Danker and his babysitter, Danielle. What started out as a fun evening in the park ends in tragedy when Humphrey is struck and killed by a vehicle while walking home. What happens next is a perfect ex
Hannah Farmer
May 26, 2013 Hannah Farmer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I received this advanced copy from the publisher at the TLA Annual Conference. For teens who enjoy realistic fiction "problem novels," this book is now at the top of my list. The characterization is spot on, the unlikely friendship between Danielle and Humphrey is well-developed, and the plot has enough twists to engage most readers. I cried A LOT while reading it, mostly because Levy captured incredibly well the spirit of a smart, sensitive, five year old boy. Danielle's memories of Humphrey ar ...more
Haylee Malenfant
Oct 22, 2015 Haylee Malenfant rated it it was amazing
In the book, Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy, the main themes were friendship and difficulties. The book is mainly about the story of a little boy named Humphrey T. Danker and his teenage babysitter, Danielle Snyder. I truly enjoyed reading every last word and did not want the story to end. I thought this book was very well written and had many interesting plot twists.
In this book, Humphrey and his babysitter are walking home from the park when he runs into the street and gets struck by a car.
Sally Kruger
WARNING! Stock up on tissues for this one.

IMPERFECT SPIRAL by Debbie Levy combines the tragic death of a wonderful five year old boy, the guilt of a teenage babysitter, and illegal immigration into a hypnotizing page-turner.

Little Humphrey Danker is hit and kill by a blue van on his way home from the park. His babysitter Danielle is crushed. She is assured by everyone, including Humphrey's parents, that the accident was not her fault, but as the weeks and months pass, she can't believe how much
Katrina Rohlfes
Mar 17, 2014 Katrina Rohlfes rated it really liked it
Danielle Snyder's babysitting job takes a turn when the boy she babysits, Humphrey, gets hit by oncoming traffic when she is watching him. She is directly hit with the pain of having someone in her life that was very close to her, die. Becoming caught up with the police and neighborhood witnesses, Danielle only wants to mourn for the sweet boy she took care of. The situation becomes was overwhelming for Danielle and she tries to avoid the world around her. She meets a boy named Justin at a park ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Joelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-cried, modern-day
Oh my gosh. This book is so good! It is really clean and I cried! Its so sad. It's about a five-year-old boy and his babysitter and her struggle to get over his freak-accident that ended up with his death.
Book Believer
Sep 11, 2014 Book Believer rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book, and sadly I just didn't feel the emotion. The only thing in this book I enjoyed were the flash backs with Humphrey, and that's pretty much it. I tried really hard to enjoy this book, but I couldn't.
Mar 12, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and each and every character in it. I have so many 6th grade girls ask for sad books and this one fits that request without being overly sentimental.
Rachel Sharpe
Sep 13, 2013 Rachel Sharpe rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, drama, romance, real-life
Just tried to tackle way too many issues in one book.
Jan 29, 2014 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
This book was so sweet & incredible! I loved it sooo much! Thanks Joelle for the recommendation!
Jun 04, 2017 Tahni rated it really liked it
It was a good book overall. There is a lot going on in this story: trauma, grief, blame/guilt, immigration issues, family dynamics, cancer, friend dynamics. Strangely none of the things never step in each other's toes but rather weave together very nicely. Guilt and grieving are handled very, very well, such that I was very engaged through most of the book.

The end dips off a bit, however, not totally capturing my engagement between the climax of the novel and the last chapter (which is quite nic
Jun 28, 2017 Abigail rated it it was amazing
This quickly became an engaging book for me and I found it hard to put down. The structure is well navigated and I love how there is still an underlying simple tone despite all that happens.
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Jun 20, 2013 Melissa (i swim for oceans) rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
View the full review here:

Danielle loved Humphrey like a little brother. He's fun, he's sweet and he never really gives her any trouble at all. But Danielle could never have guessed the tragedy that would unfold, cutting Humphrey's life short and, effectively, ending her innocence. Trapped in a web of grief and pain, Danielle doesn't see a way out until she meets a boy that might be able to make it clearer what exactly happened that day. But the memories h
Jul 05, 2013 Aeicha rated it it was amazing
Every once in awhile a book comes along that captures me so completely and moves me in such surprising ways. A book that still hasn't left my thoughts even days or weeks after it's been read. Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy is one of those books. This isn't a perfect book (do those even exist?!), but I love it for everything it is and everything it isn't.

Fourteen year old Danielle Snyder spends the summer before high school as a babysitter for five year old Humphrey. Danielle and Humphrey make a
Nov 30, 2013 WJ rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Imperfect Spiral is about the aftermath of a tragic accident, which Danielle's charge Humphrey is killed in. As their neighbourhood reels from the accident and starts to search for someone to blame, be it the fact that the street is too dark or that it were immigrants who don't exactly have a legal status, Danielle feels disconnected with everything that's happening. All she wants is for someone to ask her what Humphrey meant to her and who he was. At the same time, she feels too raw to even spe ...more
Jane Jones
Sep 26, 2014 Jane Jones rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book that sticks in your mind for months? Like, when you see something happen, the first thing you have to say is, "Oh! That reminds me of the main character in..." Or, "That's like when..." That's what this book did to me. It glued itself into my mind with all of its fantastic characters and really intriguing storyline and stayed there, reminding me of all the conflicts and characters that were introduced to me.
I found this novel when I had to look for a new summer readin
Lisa Ann
Mar 10, 2013 Lisa Ann rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults, Middle School or High School Curriculum,
Recommended to Lisa Ann by: Goodreads First Reads
Danielle is a teenager who is trying to figure out just who she is, and who she isn't. The choice to stay in the city for the summer and babysit just one child, as opposed to going to camp to be a CIT for several kids, changes her life forever. Shy and uncomfortable talking to groups of people, the perfect solution seems to be caring for a deliciously precocious 5-year old, Humphrey. Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy is more than just a story to read and then set aside, it deals with real issues t ...more
Feb 19, 2017 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I would give this book a 3.5. This was an endearing story about the struggles a young girl goes through after the five year-old boy she was babysitting is struck and killed by a car. While her story tugs at your heart the book pulls in the controversial issues of immigration almost forcefully and felt over shadowing in the resolution of the story.
Becky Keir Grace
Imperfect Spiral is the story of love and loss. Danielle was baby-sitting 5 year old Humphrey when tragedy strikes; he is hit by a car and killed. Danielle is not responsible for the accident, however, the guilt she feels leaves her feeling it is her fault. Also, Humphrey's family also blames Danielle to an extent. The community addresses the situation of the road and presses for a sidewalk and lights on the street. Danielle is pressed to talk at the hearing, but suffers from a severe fear of pu ...more
Cassie Gutman
Jul 16, 2013 Cassie Gutman rated it really liked it
I'm giving away an ARC of this right here :

Levy tackled the process of grief and tragedy so well. I was amazed at how deep this book went into Danielle's summer and dealing with the loss of Humphrey, as well as battling through all the town's feelings and opinions on the matter. The book begins about 40 seconds after the accident, with Danielle experiencing everything as if it's in slow motion. From there, we see her life after the accident mixed with cha
Hannah (The Irish Banana Review)
Heartbreaking, poignant, and utterly sweet, Imperfect Spiral is a quiet book that showcases the subtle awesomeness of debut author Debbie Levy. I was hooked from beginning to end as I wandered down the path with Danielle as she struggled to grow up and find herself in the face of an unthinkable tragedy and the fallout that resulted.

As someone who frequently babysat neighborhood kids growing up, what happens to Danielle is easily worst-case scenario. I think that’s why I was able to so quickly id
Apr 13, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Most people in their life span experience some kind of tragedy. Something so awful that at that particular moment in time they don't know if it is real or if they dreamed it up. It changes their life entirely and most often they are never the same. This story is about one such awful event that happened to a teenage girl named Danielle; who decided to take a babysitting job for the summer. This summer job turns into a pleasant experience as she becomes very close to her charge. However, her babys ...more
Noor Hanis
May 20, 2016 Noor Hanis rated it really liked it
Now that my 3-week exam has ended and a long holidays approaching, I could get back to reading for awhile. Yay for me and the poor books in the shelf for not being read by the owner frequently.

Okay back to the book, I'm delighted to say that I'm now open to realistic-fiction-kind genre. To be honest, I'd only read romance, historical fiction, romance, fantasy, horror, mystery and YA. You know right when you want to reach out to other sort of genres you rarely or never read before. It comes to m
Jul 12, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Danielle Samuelson's life gets ripped out from under her when Humphrey the five year old boy she babysits, dies in a tragic accident, that happens on her watch. The scrunity that arises from the accident makes Danielle grow up quickly, as she not only has to deal with the guilt, but also the loss as well. Everyone that reads my blog and my reviews knows that tough issue books always grab my attention, for whatever reason they always suck me in and I tend to devour them despite the storylines bei ...more
Cindy Hudson
Sep 12, 2013 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it
When a tragic accident takes the life of the 5-year-old she is babysitting, Danielle is pulled into issues beyond her control. Everyone seems to want the accident to be about something else—poor lighting on the road, lack of a safe place to walk, illegal immigration—but no one wants to focus on Humphrey, and who he was as an individual.

As she grieves for the little boy she loved, she also finds herself reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Everyone, friends and neighbors see her as
Feb 11, 2015 Genevive rated it it was amazing
Danella was a babysitter for Humphrey. Humphry loved Danella a lot, he would love it when they play football or catch with it. Danella went to a camp when she was younger, she wanted to be a council during the summer but she couldn’t because she was scared to speak in a large group. That’s what stopped her from going, she could’ve been a council but she was just not ready. Humphrey’s mom Mrs.Danker had a sickness she had cancer. She knew if she had a baby it would affect her but she wanted one ...more
Feb 12, 2017 Andrea rated it liked it
So I just finished this book and honestly, it was quite boring.
There's a lot about immigration and the romance in this is very little. So don't expect too much on the romance part.
Well, what can I say? This book's main focus is about Humphrey and Danielle.
Even though this book is quite boring, the author made it interesting enough to make me continue.
I enjoyed all the parts with Humphrey in it. They really bring a smile to my face as to what a wonderful relationship Danielle and Humphrey have.
Apr 29, 2015 Nataliem rated it it was amazing
“Imperfect Spiral” by Debbie Levy was a very enjoyable read. Danielle has a summer job for babysitting Humphrey, an adorable five year old boy. Her best friend is off at camp and her brother has moved out, so it was nice for her to have some company throughout the summer. He was thoughtful and mature for his age. Danielle was trying to teach him how to throw a football in a perfect spiral after he expressed his interest at the park. It was all going pretty good until Humphrey is hit by a car aft ...more
Jul 24, 2013 P.M. rated it it was amazing
Humphrey T. Danker is an old soul in a five and a half year old body. He has a Baltimore Ravens' jersey because he likes the color purple. Listening to the National Symphony play music based on a water theme, stroking a velvet lounge suit, admiring an exquisitely crafted dollhouse, and finding the first star of the evening - all of these things "give him tears". But what he wants most to learn is how to throw a football in a perfect spiral. Enter Danielle Snyder, his new 14 year old babysitter. ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
Danielle is a quiet 14 year old with few close friends. She spends a good portion of her time babysitting 5 year old Humphrey, and she loves it. Danielle and Humphrey have bonded and she can’t imagine her life without him, until one day when he’s hit by a car and killed. Danielle has a hard time understanding what happened, and she finds herself torn when the community makes his death an immigration issue when it’s discovered that an undocumented immigrant was driving the car that killed him.

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