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The Science of Breakable Things

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An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie's uplifting story of using the scientific method to "save" her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers' hearts!

How do you grow a miracle?
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?

An extraordinary story about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too, and that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published March 6, 2018

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About the author

Tae Keller

8 books394 followers
TAE KELLER is the Newbery award winning and New York Times bestselling author of When You Trap a Tiger and The Science of Breakable Things. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she subsisted on kimchi, purple rice, and stories. Now, she writes about biracial girls trying to find their voices, and lives in Seattle with her husband and a multitude of books.

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5 stars
1,339 (36%)
4 stars
1,582 (43%)
3 stars
598 (16%)
2 stars
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1 star
25 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 608 reviews
Profile Image for Brad McLelland.
Author 6 books64 followers
December 25, 2017
This novel is, in a word, FANTASTIC. Tae Keller's grasp of her MC Natalie's emotional arc is extremely well-tuned, giving us moments of such depth that I literally found myself in awe at some passages. Natalie is so very human as she tries to understand her mother's depression, sometimes getting it right, sometimes completely misunderstanding a situation, and I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed for Natalie, her family, and their entire struggle. But the book also gives tremendous moments of light and laughter. I THOROUGHLY loved Natalie's friends -- particularly Twig, who injects the novel with pure delight and hilarity. And the science experiment embedded as the framing device for the book works so perfectly to help Natalie plumb the depths of her own emotions.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who might have a child trying to understand his or her place in the family, and who particularly might be struggling to grasp the nuances of depression and loneliness.

I read an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Iman.
54 reviews27 followers
April 4, 2021
به نظرم از اون کتاباست که باید به همه کودک و نوجوان‌ها و معلم‌هایی که می‌شناسید هدیه بدید. غمگینه ولی رنگی از زندگی واقعیه. کاش نسل بعدی واقعا یاد بگیره که بهتر مشاهده کنه و یاد بگیره که بتونه سوال علمی بپرسه و روش پیدا کردن جواب علمی برای سوالش رو بلد باشه. کاش نسل بعدی کشور ما هم از همون کودکی دسترسی بیشتری به تراپیست داشته باشه و یاد بگیره افسردگی والدینش رو بشناسه و باهاش کنار بیاد.
Profile Image for Hossein.
222 reviews86 followers
March 7, 2021
دارم به این نتیجه میرسم که کتاب‌هایی که مشخصا "داستان نوجوان" نامیده میشن، چقدرررر خوبند. این کتاب‌ها با زبان ساده و غیراستعاری، عمیق‌ترین احساسات آدم‌ها رو نمایان میکنن. و چقدر واقعی هستند.نوجوان‌های این کتاب‌ها به اندازه آدم‌های بزرگسال دنیای عادی احساسات دارند و برخلاف ما، این احساسات رو بدون پرده‌پوشی نشون میدن. به راحتی میخندن و به راحتی اشک می‌ریزن و این ویژگی فوق‌العاده رو دارن که همیشه غم‌ها و دردها و غصه‌هاشون راهی به بیرون پیدا میکنن و ترمیم میشن.
Profile Image for Meredith (booksbythewater).
93 reviews19 followers
June 21, 2018
Maybe sometimes the strongest thing of all is knowing that one day you'll be all right again, and waiting and waiting until you can come into the sun.

Rating: 5 stars

Can you actually believe a quote like that came from a middle grade novel? If you're anything like me, when I started this book search for my third grade book club I assumed everything I'd read would be childish and irrelevant to me. Well now I feel like an idiot, because that is so wrong. Tae Keller gets it here. Without once losing that perfect child-like spark and innocence, Keller is able to tell an uplifting story of a young girl, Natalie, who is dealing with life and all life's breakable things as her mom is suffering from crippling depression.

The mature message of this book is impressive and so important. Keller touches on pretty basic themes of friendship and family, but it's made so much more complex with the addition of depression. I think we like to pretend that kids don't experience these complex feelings, or don't understand them enough for those feelings to be important. It's not Natalie that's depressed, but she's still deeply affected by her mother's depression and left out of the loop because she's young. Subsequently, she's confused and angry at her mom. The way Natalie is slowly able to accept depression as a real issue and not her mom's choice to "not care" is such an important thing. Because 12 year olds probably don't understand depression. But they should. And Natalie learns slowly here and in the most accessible way that her mother is strong for fighting and didn't choose to just stop caring.

Natalie dealing with her mom's depression is the main conflict of the novel, but my favorite subplot is probably Natalie's friendship with Twig. Their interactions had me smiling and laughing, like, actually. I sat outside and laughed out loud like a maniac and it brought tears to my eyes, too, to remember that sweet friendship kids have. It was such a pleasure. The theme of friendship here is lovely and hopeful. Twig and Natalie are able to talk about things that they used to ignore because it was uncomfortable. But it's so lovely how they have each other's backs and learn to open up to each other. Also, Natalie accepting being of Korean heritage is important. I like that Natalie's dad tries to hide his heritage, but Natalie is able to appreciate it. It's important that the diversity here conveys a message of acceptance (without being political about it, imagine that! Ah, the beauty of middle grade novels) and that it's not just diversity for the heck of it.

Another triumph of this book is Natalie's voice. At every moment Keller crafts the perfect thoughtful and fun tone for Natalie. The footnotes were funny, educational, and are a tiny detail that make the pages of this book rich with Natalie's voice. Keller creates her main character masterfully, and Natalie's development is perfectly plotted and resonant. Even in the emotionally rough times, it's not an adult trying to Understand the Kids, it reads like a young girl figuring some complex things out. Keller's ability to craft Natalie's voice and carry it consistently throughout the novel is how Keller makes her complex and difficult theme of depression accessible.

The Science of Breakable Things is every reason I fell in love with reading all those years ago on that yellow school bus. I want to buy a hundred copies and throw them at every person I see, because this book is important and uplifting and I'm a better person having read it. This book is probably above the third graders comprehension level, and despite my purpose of reading this being to find books for their reading level, I don't feel like I wasted any time at all. In fact, I feel lucky. I feel so lucky this book found me. It's so great to know that books like these exist in the middle grade world, and I hope it reaches every little bookworm out there. I want to say this book made me feel like a kid again, made me see the world with childlike hope, but it more accurately made me feel like myself, down to my core. I borrowed this from the library, but I'll be purchasing a copy for my own bookshelf. By far this has been the most special book I've read in years and I happily look forward to Keller's future books.

So here's my observations, Mr. Neely. Here's all my heart.
Profile Image for lilac.
170 reviews
August 30, 2019
همیشه نمی‌توانی از چیزهای شکستنی محافظت کنی؛ قلب‌ها و تخم‌مرغ‌ها می‌شکنند، همه‌چیز تغییر می‌کند ولی تو ادامه می‌دهی.
Profile Image for Jen Petro-Roy.
Author 8 books341 followers
June 21, 2017
What a lovely book about coping with the unknown, challenging family circumstances, friendship, and hope. This is Tae Keller's debut novel, and I can't wait to read what she writes next.
Profile Image for Gita Ghasemi.
228 reviews25 followers
March 3, 2023
شنبه شب، بعد از گذراندن یک روز تلخ و سخت شروعش کردم. بیش از یک ساعت گذشت و من همچنان با ناتالی همراه بودم. به یاد دارم که آن شب حدود ساعت دو نیمه شب رفتم توی هال. مامان خانه‌ی مامان‌بزرگ بود و بابا همانجا خوابش برده بود و فراموش کرده بود چراغ آشپزخانه را خاموش کند. احساس غریبی داشتم. دلم میخواست ناتالی را بغل کنم و بهش بگویم که چه‌قدر ازش ممنونم، و چه‌قدر به خواندن کلماتش نیاز داشتم.
دوشنبه عصر بین ساعت اضافه‌ی دو تا کلاسم رفتم توی سالن‌مطالعه. در کلاس ما پسری هست که هیچ‌وقت لبخند نمی‌زند و عموماً بداخلاق است و همیشه هم به روبه‌رو نگاه می‌کند. در طی دو ساعتی که در سالن‌مطالعه کتاب را می‌خواندم او در سکوت پشت میز کنارِ من نشسته بود و روی برگه‌های کوچکی سوالات ریاضی را حل می‌کرد. نمی‌دانم چرا این را گفتم ولی وقتی کتاب‌هایم با آدم‌ها پیوند می‌خورند دوست دارم آن را ثبت کنم. انگار در من نوعی احترام نسبت به او شکل گرفت. به خاطر سکوتش و کتابی که در کنار او تمام شد.

شده آدمی توی زندگی‌تان باشد که خیلی دوستش داشته باشید ولی یک روز بفهمید که دیگر او را نمی‌شناسید؟ که دیگر لبخندش شبیه قبل نباشد و دلتان از محبت او گرم نباشد؟
مادر ناتالی گیاه‌شناس است. زنی که لبخندهای بزرگی دارد و وارد هر اتاقی می‌شود همه عاشقش می‌شوند. مادری که همیشه به ناتالی در درس علوم کمک می‌کند و برای هر مسئله‌ای دیدگاه جدیدی دارد.
اما اوضاع اینطور نمی‌ماند. مادر بعد از اینکه پروژه‌ی چند ساله‌اش شکست می‌خورد افسرده می‌شود. حالا ناتالی باید پروژه‌ی درس علومش را به تنهایی حل کند. باید بفهمد که آن مادر همیشگی‌اش کجاست، و آیا می‌شود از تخم‌مرغ‌ها و قلب‌ها و انسان‌های شکستنی محافظت کرد؟

بخش‌هایی از کتاب:
بخش‌های دوست‌داشتنی‌ام از کتاب خیلی زیاد بود و به گمانم اگر بخواهم همه را اینجا بنویسم زیبایی خودشان را از دست می‌دهند و بینِ تعداد زیادشان گم می‌شوند. این شما و این منتخب‌ها:

▪︎ نباید گل‌ها را زیاد آب بدهی. گیاهان هم احتیاج دارند کمی به حال خودشان باشند. خنده دار است. نه؟ ۵۰

▪︎ دیگر نمی‌دانستم باید چه حسی داشته باشم. احساسم مثل قطب‌نمای شکسته‌ای همینطور می‌چرخیدند و می‌چرخیدند و نمی‌دانستند کجا ثابت بمانند. ۲۲۰

▪︎ توئیگ درست مثل داریا بعد از مسابقه، با صدای آرامی گفت: "ما بازم با هم دوست می‌مونیم؟" این شده بود تکیه‌کلام غمگین دوستی ما. ۲۲۲

▪︎ ما هیچ وقت نمی‌توانستیم مثل گذشته بهترین دوست هم باشیم، ولی شاید نیازی نبود این‌قدر هم بد باشیم. شاید میشد همه‌چیز عادی باشد. ۲۳۸

▪︎ همیشه نمی‌توانی از چیزهای شکستنی محافظت کنی؛ قلب‌ها و تخم‌مرغ‌ها می‌شکنند، همه‌چیز تغییر می‌کند ولی تو ادامه می‌دهی.
چون علم یعنی پرسیدن سوال و زندگی یعنی نترسیدن از جواب. ۲۴۵

نکات ریزتر / برای بعداً به یاد آوردن:
در کتاب دو عبارت برایم خیلی عجیب بودند. "سودای آشپزی" و "جغرافیای طبیعی" که بنظرم اولی برگردان کلمه‌ی baking soda است و دومی نام مجله‌ی Natural Geography. نظر تخصصی‌ای ندارم اما کاش این دو تا کلمه ترجمه نمی‌شدند. کلمه‌ی اول که میتواند معنایی متفاوت از نوعی ادویه بگیرد و کلمه‌ی دوم هم نام خاص است. من یادم است با زیرنویس‌های خانم آشتیانی نام این مجله را یاد گرفتم. یعنی میشد حتی اگر اصراری به ترجمه‌ی کلمه بود، با یک پانویسِ انگلیسی بچه‌ها را با اصل مجله آشنا کرد.

• پدر ناتالی اهل کره است و داریا هندی‌است. در کتاب به نوعی آشنایی با فرهنگی که از آن آمده‌ای مورد تقدیر قرار می‌گیرد.
پیدا کردن دوست‌های جدید هم همین‌طور. ناتالی در مدرسه فقط یک دوست دارد و وقتی داریا می‌خواهد به تیم آنها ملحق بشود می‌ترسد توئیگ را از دست بدهد.
Profile Image for Abby.
554 reviews112 followers
July 10, 2018
Looking back, I'm not so sure she was right. I want to say to her, "Plants are not people. Plants eat and grow and breathe, but they cannot laugh or sing or wonder." And now she cannot laugh or sing or wonder.

This is such a powerful book. Such an important book. I don't know that I've read many middle-grades dealing with depression, and the ones I have read rarely deal with depression in a parent. And it's so well handled in this book.

We follow Natalie, a twelve-year-old girl who is convinced that she can fix her mother. If she can just win the egg drop, win enough money for tickets to New Mexico, show her mother the real miracle flower, everything will be solved. With her best friend Twig and new friend Dari by her side, she begins the quest to be rid of this Not-Mom and find Real-Mom again. And it's perfectly beautiful.

I didn't know what to expect from this book, but it was what I didn't know I wanted. I loved listening to it - I've been listening to audiobooks on my way to sleep each night and this was apparently not a good choice because I just wanted to stay up and listen to it xD

But yes, this was a beautiful story and the FRIENDSHIPS are the BEST and yeah, this is definitely special.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,348 reviews527 followers
August 12, 2020
This book has so much heart! Natalie's mom does not feel like getting out of bed. She has started thinking of this version of her mom as "not-Mom." It is hard to be enthusiastic about science class when your mom, always your best science cheerleader, has no interest in your life. Fortunately Natalie has her unpredictable, but loyal BFF Twig in her corner. And why does science nerd and head of the class Dari want to be a part of their group? He will certainly be a big help if they want to win the Egg Drop Contest. Tae Keller deftly presents the realities of having a depressed parent while incorporating humor and hope into the narrative. Highly recommended!

Profile Image for Alisha.
772 reviews7 followers
May 16, 2018
A book about STEM and the scientific process!
Amazing girl protagonist!
Diverse cast of characters!
A book that realistically portrays what it is like to have a parent with depression
Well written and great pacing

#rip all the poor eggs broken in the name of science
Profile Image for Alfredo.
373 reviews505 followers
December 31, 2019
Natalie quer "salvar" a mãe da depressão. Ela não consegue entender por que, de repente, as coisas mudaram e sua mãe começou a agir diferente. A medida em que a garota planeja uma missão para provar que milagres existem, ela entende mais sobre si mesma e sobre a vida.

"The science of breakable things" foi uma excelente leitura! Esse middle grade é bem escrito e tem ótimos personagens. A protagonista é birracial (de ascendência coreana), o professor dela incentiva as crianças o máximo que pode, os amigos sempre estão ao seu lado (e um deles também é birracial, de ascendência indiana), e o pai é um terapista que entende a necessidade de buscar ajuda.

Falar sobre depressão, especialmente quando nossos pais sofrem dela, não é fácil. Entender o problema quando criança pode ser ainda mais difícil. Essa história mostra que as crianças são tão observadoras e curiosas quanto os adultos, e que elas querem ajudar aqueles que amam. Os pais nem sempre são perfeitos.

Mesmo tendo essa doença como pano de fundo de sua história, Tae Keller mostra que nem sempre os dias ruins vencem. É possível encontrar momentos de alegria e união mesmo num período tão difícil. É possível reunir a família para uma comemoração importante.

"The science of breakable things" é um middle grade responsável, diverso e necessário. Aborda com coragem e clareza um assunto que adultos geralmente evitam comentar com crianças, e fala da importância de buscar ajuda e fazer terapia. Recomendo!
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,194 reviews724 followers
February 28, 2018
Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing a copy of this book with @kidlitexchange for review! All opinions are my own.

YAY for girls + SCIENCE!!! My 6th grade daughter is majorly into science and it is SO hard to find books for her that fit this interest area, so I was ecstatic to start reading this and realize just HOW science-y it is! The entire story is based on the scientific method and the science projects of Natalie and her friends, along with a storyline about Natalie's botanist mother and her research. SCIENCE HEAVEN! However, this isn't JUST for science fans. There are excellent storylines about Natalie's changing friendships in middle school and her mother's depression, along with her relationship with her father and feelings about counseling and middle school in general.

Required purchase for middle school libraries and highly recommended for grades 5-8. I am purchasing a copy for my library and have already pre-ordered a copy for my daughter.
Profile Image for ستایش.
140 reviews3 followers
June 6, 2021
بخش هایی از کتاب:
شاید زیاد عجیب نباشد که سرما این قدر قدرت دارد شاید بعضی وقت‌ها قدرت یعنی این که بدانی روزی همه چیز درست می‌شود و آن قدر منتظر بمانی تا هوا آفتابی شود و بتوانی بروی بیرون.‌

فهمیدن و درک‌ معنی کلمات چقدر مهم است چون وقتی معنای کلمه‌ای را بفهمی، مال خودت می‌شود بخشی از وجودت.
Profile Image for Ala Pak.
16 reviews13 followers
July 27, 2019
«همیشه نمی‌توانی از چیزهای شکستنی محافظت کنی؛ قلب‌ها و تخم‌مرغ‌ها می‌شکنند، همه‌چیز تغییر می‌کند ولی تو ادامه می‌دهی.
چون علم یعنی پرسیدن سوال و زندگی یعنی نترسیدن از جواب.»
تا حالا چندبار به برخوردمون با آدم‌هایی که از افسردگی رنج می‌برن فکر کردیم؟ به همون آدم‌هایی که سعی می‌کنن از همه دور بشن، خودشون رو تو اتاق حبس کنن و به جای پیدا کردن جواب و راه‌ حل برای مشکلاتشون بگن «نمی‌دونم!». شاید بهشون بارها برچسب‌های بد زدیم، شاید سرزنششون یا ازشون قطع امید کردیم.
ناتالی به جای این کارها تصمیم گرفت بجنگه‌. مامان ناتالی بهترین مامان دنیا و گیاه‌شناس بوده، اما بعد از شکست‌خوردن پروژه‌ش از کارش اخراج و افسرده می‌شه. ناتالی تصمیم می‌گیره با دوستاش تو مسابقه‌ی نجات تخم‌مرغ شرکت کنه تا بتونه با پولش مامانش رو ببره نیومکزیکو، گل ارکیده‌ی لاجوردی رو بهش نشون بده و حالش رو خوب کنه. آیا ناتالی و دوستاش موفق می‌شن؟
پ.ن۱: چیزی که خیلی دوست داشتم تاکید نویسنده روی سنت‌ها و فرهنگیه که تقریبا تو دنیای امروزی بچه‌ها فراموش شده. اینکه اگه بچه‌ها داستان‌های مادربزرگ‌ها رو‌ بشنون و با سنت‌ها آشنا بشن چقدر می‌تونه بهشون روحیه بده و کمکشون کنه تا واسه زندگی‌شون بیشتر بجنگن.
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 2 books102 followers
July 6, 2017

In Tae Keller’s heartwarming yet humorous middle-grade novel, THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS, we meet Natalie Napoli, a seventh grader whose botanist mom is suffering from depression. The only way to get her out of her funk, Natalie believes, is to take her mom to New Mexico to pluck the magical Cobalt Blue Orchid—a flower that Natalie hopes will bring her mom back to life. Using the scientific method—and with some help from her best friend, Twig, and their lab-partner Dari—Natalie learns that miracles can and do happen. It just takes patience, and faith in the impossible. A stunning debut. Highly and enthusiastically recommended!
Profile Image for K.A..
Author 5 books250 followers
September 8, 2017
This book was so touching and wonderful. I teared up! Full of STEM geek love, bubbling with emotion, fun, sass, great friends, family problems, friendship break-ups and make-ups, real 7th grade problems I recall all too well! And a real look at parental depression. Highly recommend this one. <3 <3
Profile Image for Alkimeya.
60 reviews51 followers
April 26, 2019
مثل اينكه تعطيلات مردم را خوشحال نميكند. فقط يادمان مي اندازد بقيه روزهاي سال چقدر بيچاره ايم
Profile Image for Aj Sterkel.
781 reviews31 followers
March 27, 2019
Likes: This is one of those books that I struggled with in the beginning and then suddenly didn’t want to put down. I may have severely delayed my dinner to finish it. (If you know how much I love food, then you’ll know that’s a big deal.)

I adore these characters! Natalie, Twig, and Dari are three of the most engaging characters I’ve come across in a middlegrade book. Natalie has a distinctive voice. She’s mature, but she occasionally makes hilarious observations. I love Twig’s energy and lack of impulse control. Dari is the voice of reason in their friend group. He often pulls the girls back to reality when their plans get too off-the-wall. Together, they make a charming cast of characters. I think I would have related to them when I was twelve.

The characters grow a lot over the course of the novel. Natalie’s attitude toward her mother shifts as she learns more about her mother’s depression. All of Natalie’s emotions are understandable. She starts out sad and angry because her mother is “different,” but her feelings change as she gives up her preconceived ideas and figures out what’s actually been happening in her mother’s life.

This novel is structured like a science lab report. There are illustrations, instructions for experiments, materials lists, stuff like that. I didn’t find it gimmicky or heavy-handed. The science and the story flow together well and make sense thematically.

“Science is asking questions. And living is not being afraid of the answer.” – The Science of Breakable Things

Dislikes: Like I said, I had some trouble getting invested in the story. The plot feels a bit directionless until Natalie commits to participating in the egg drop contest.

I also wondered what’s up with Natalie’s dad. He seems to have some issues with his mother and his Korean ancestry, but that isn’t explored. It’s just hinted at. I thought his issues might be explained at the end, but nope. They’re a mystery to me.

The Bottom Line: I liked it! If you enjoy science or middlegrade books with humor, honesty, and heart, I recommend it.

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Profile Image for Wendy MacKnight.
Author 3 books83 followers
April 13, 2018
What a beautiful, wonderful book! The impact of depression is dealt with in a wonderfully accessible way, and Keller does an amazing job of letting us walk in Natalie’s shoes. Add in a caring teacher, two lovable best friends, and #science project, this is a not-to-be missed book!
Profile Image for Alexandra Ott.
Author 4 books75 followers
July 5, 2017
This is a really lovely and emotional middle grade contemporary about friendship, family, and hope. The characters are smart and hilarious (especially Twig <3) and the writing is lovely. Have a box of tissues on hand for this one!
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,388 reviews73 followers
February 4, 2018
Twelve-year-old Natalie is having a bad year. Her mom seldom leaves her room and seems to have turned into not-Mom. She is worried about her botanist mother and a little angry at her too. Luckily, she has the support of her best friend Twig who keeps school interesting with her big personality. She also has a new friend in Dari who is here from India with his parents.

Natalie has a plan to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids that she has been studying. They are unique plants that can suck up toxins in the soil and become a beautiful blue color. She is hoping that seeing the flower she loves will make her mother feel better and reconnect to life. But she needs money which is where the Egg Drop contest comes in. First Place has a $500 prize.

Natalie, Twig and Dari spend most of the school year working on their contraption to keep their egg from breaking. This egg drop project is what they will all be using for their year-long science project on the scientific method. Twig and Dari have come up with big questions that their research will answer but Natalie's question takes a while to develop.

Natalie has quite a year of growth and change. Since the story is told from Natalie's point of view, I was left with a number of questions. It didn't appear that her mother was receiving any kind of treatment for her depression despite the fact that her father is a therapist. It also looked to me that the changes in Natalie, i.e. daydreaming, lack of interest in school work, and failure to complete assignments, were being ignored by the school. It felt like Natalie was being left to cope on her own both at home and at school.

This was an interesting story about a child dealing with a parent's mental illness which was well-written and thought-provoking.
Profile Image for Afoma (Reading Middle Grade).
581 reviews301 followers
May 20, 2018
What a stunning piece of work!! FYI, this book is not just for middle graders. When Natalie’s mom stops coming out of her room for months in a row, their small family is shaken and they stop really talking.

In THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS, Tae Keller tackles a multitude of themes with impressive finesse and relatable writing. From a parent suffering depression to what true friendship means, family and the importance of heritage, this book is loaded!

Despite being aimed at middle graders, Keller’s book does not gloss over mental health struggles. It is honestly one of the most honest and realistic portrayals of depression I’ve read. The protagonist Natalie is brave, independent and dynamic. I fell in love quickly with Dari and a bit slower with Twig, but what great friends Natalie has!

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for people of all ages. It is so well written with complex, engaging characters that you will never forget.

PS- the audiobook is equally fantastic! Jennifer Kim is an incredible narrator.
Profile Image for Mid-Continent Public Library.
584 reviews186 followers
August 12, 2020
This book has so much heart! Natalie's mom does not feel like getting out of bed. She has started thinking of this version of her mom as "not-Mom." It is hard to be enthusiastic about science class when your mom, always your best science cheerleader, has no interest in your life. Fortunately Natalie has her unpredictable, but loyal BFF Twig in her corner. And why does science nerd and head of the class Dari want to be a part of their group? He will certainly be a big help if they want to win the Egg Drop Contest. Tae Keller deftly presents the realities of having a depressed parent while incorporating humor and hope into the narrative. Highly recommended! * Reviewed by Darla from Red Bridge *

Profile Image for Isabel Cheever.
22 reviews10 followers
May 10, 2018
I would definitely recommend this book! It is an insightful story about a girl dealing with her mom’s depression. It was fascinating to read about how depression doesn’t just impact the person, but also the people in their life.

Typically, I shy away from books about depression. I’m a HUGE fantasy person and nonfiction books about real life issues make me kinda depressed myself. I was surprised that this didn’t happen with this book! The author brilliantly wove humor into the story that made the book entertaining to read! The main character was super relatable which made the book even better because it’s told from her perspective.

If you’re looking for a book with a lot of heart, this book is for you!
Profile Image for Cassie Thomas.
454 reviews16 followers
March 29, 2018
I have never read a story that portrays depression, and it was so perfectly portrayed. Depression affects so many, either in obvious ways or silent ways, and I think it’s imperative for kids to start being aware of these issues. Natalie’s story was one that I can absolutely relate to, and so much of her adolescent life is familiar in myself, but also my students. I love the science connection. I will definitely be book talking to my students and sharing as much as I can. I already have a few students in mind of who are or have experienced this during this school year.
“Living is not being afraid of the answer.”
Profile Image for Jen Malone.
Author 18 books517 followers
November 1, 2017
I love that this is told through science project entries (and further love all of the STEM included, between the project and Natalie's mom being a botanist!), but the heart of this story is the angst Natalie feels over her mother's withdrawal from the family due to depression and the sweet lengths Natalie will go to in hopes of fixing the situation. It deals with a very serious topic in an accessible way that really works beautifully.
Profile Image for Amir.
200 reviews69 followers
October 31, 2019
چیزهای شکستنی و محافظت ازشان؛ شکست‌ها و دست‌آوردها.

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