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Lucky Broken Girl

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,615 ratings  ·  737 reviews
Based on the author's childhood in the 1960s, a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed.

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro's Cuba to New York City. Just when she's finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English and enjoying her reign as her neighb
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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1Josey yes. I think this book is good because, it talks about different people and their struggles.

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  3,615 ratings  ·  737 reviews

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This is so good. So, so, so good. And with a cast of diverse characters (read: characters from the real world, not the pale-topia of so many other children's book writers) that you never get to see in books. This will (deservedly) get comparisons to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret , and it's even more complex, since it deals with a secular Jewish family (finally!) and allows the child character complete freedom to pick and choose bits of different religions that allow her to make meaning ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sometimes middle-grade feels mature and sometimes it just feels extremely childish. This was very far on the latter side. I am no stranger to middle-grade and often reach out to it when I need a nice, soft book. But this was just too young, with very little emotional explanation or motivation for any of the characters. Things were very "this happened and then this other thing happened", all very straight-forward with little depth to the writing. ...more
This book was made for me! A Jewish girl, in the 1960s, who has a badly broken right leg and ends up in a body cast for months, then reduced casts for a total of close to a year. I had extensive hip operations as a child requiring a body cast (one leg only, thank goodness!) and definitely affected my childhood and life! I don't remember one of the trials that Ruthie had thank goodness. Her mother likely interpreted the doctor's orders a little too severely and kept Ruthie on a very limited diet ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
The writing adage goes, “Write what you know,” but not every experience in your life is created equal in the eyes of storytelling. In her middle-grade debut, Ruth Behar detailed the year of her youth spent bedridden in a body cast after breaking her leg. First of all, body cast? For a broken leg?? The medical field has come far since the 1960’s. Secondly, Behar claims she changed details for this fictionalized version, but the main character, Ruthie, had the distinct flavor of a Mary Sue. And th ...more
Tomes And Textiles
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
You can find my full review on YA Wednesdays blog.

This book was so, so, so, so, so wonderful.

Ebullient and joyful, this middle grade novel based on the author's early life as a Cuban immigrant in NY was an absolute delight. I wish this book had existed at some point in my childhood. It would have helped me accept myself and my culture a little better at a time I was questioning it.

The rest of my review is on the blog.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Based on the author's own childhood experience of being in a body cast for nearly a year, this is truly an amazing, sometimes heart wrenching story of one child's journey in Queens during the 1960's.
Ruthie Mizrahi's family has fled Cuba during the Cuban crisis - they are one of the few Jewish Cuban families to have escaped the Castro regime.

Living in a very small walk-up apartment in Queens, Ruthie is known as "Miss Hopscotch Queen of Queens". Her father works hard and long hours, determined to
Karen • The Book Return
'Lucky Broken Girl' is a middle-grade novel about a girl named Ruth. Ruth is growing up in 1960's NYC. Her family is Jewish and Cuban . It is a semi-autobiographical novel about Ruth Behar's childhood. 'Lucky Broken Girl's focus is on the year Ruth was in a full body cast following a car accident.
'Lucky Broken Girl' gives the reader a unique perspective about childhood injury. It explored, in gritty detail, the boredom, humiliation, sadness, and fear that Ruth experienced during her year in bed.
Michelle Glatt
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartfelt book about a girl struggling to heal both mentally and physically when an accident leaves her in a half body-cast at age 11. But it's also about growing up in the US as a Cuban/Jewish immigrant and the struggles and perseverance of Ruthie and her extended family. Many layers to this book, making a great one to talk and think about. ...more
"I was once a broken girl. And I'm not broken anymore.

I am lucky, after all."

Ruthie’s resilience in the face of adversity will have you laughing, crying, and cheering the whole way through.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar that was generously shared with my Book Relays group. I thought the book was amazing and I feel like I'm quite lucky to have been able to read it. This novel shares the struggle of recovery after Ruthie Mizrahi was seriously injured in a car accident.

It was 1966 and Ruthie's family had recently moved to New York as refugees from Cuba. As difficult as it was for the family to get ahead without knowing much English
Becky Ginther
I really wanted to like this book. I felt like the concept was interesting and it had some important things to say - I appreciated that it dealt with immigrants attempting to live in New York, and also a child who struggles with an injury that has her in a full body cast for a year. Talk about something tough to deal with!

However, for me there were a lot of issues. I just didn't like the writing style. It felt like a lot of "this happened, this happened, this happened" without as much emotional
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book contained so much in its tiny volume. I loved that this was basically a creative memoir, and even though it took me a little bit to get into the story, I loved hearing Ruthie’s response to challenges and all of those who helped her. Her story of immigration is one that many readers can identify with.
More like 3.5 stars.
This is a story based on the authors life and it is such an interesting tale. It's funny that it felt so one-dimensional (to me) when there were so many layers to her story. Ruthie is a Jewish immigrant from Cuba, her grandparents survived the Holocaust, her two friends are also immigrants - one from India and the other from Belgium, her neighbor is from Mexico, and her tutor is a free-thinking hippie. A good read but might not resonate with my students - I hope I'm wrong.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
[Read for Read Harder Challenge]

This was lovely. I don't read much (or any) Middle Grade, but I really enjoyed this story about a young Jewish Cuban immigrant who breaks her leg in the summer of 1966. Confined to her room for many months in a body cast, she goes through a ton of emotional growth and learns to appreciate her life. The diversity in the story is A+. It was written for a young audience but gently touched on a lot of grown-up themes, including racial equality and immigrant rights.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was a book of sadness but also happiness. This book I think the lesson is to never give up even in the toughest times. I would recommend this book to any reader. LOVED THE BOOK SO MUCH!!
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lucky Broken Girl is the heartfelt and touching story of young Ruthie's recovery from a horrible injury that challenges both her body and her family. At times difficult to experience--from her mother's mixed emotions to the pain of recovery--this story shows what it means to persist. ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Ryanne by: nobody
A really interesting story and one of the best books that I have read this year. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes to read!
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juv-fic, read-in-2018
This review is of the audio book. I start with that because I think I would have enjoyed the print version more. I usually like hearing an author read their own words, but that wasn't the case, for me, with "Lucky Borken Girl". This is a very personal story and I imagine it would be difficult for Ms. Behar to relinquish it's reading to another, but I think it would have been worth it to allow that to happen. Inflection, pacing, and oddly paced, frequent mid-sentance pauses throughout were distra ...more
Natalie  Harvey
I'll be honest -- I was frustrated with this book at first because of the harsh stereotypes (of women, of men, of refugees, of ELL students, of Cubans, of Americans) and the absolutely peculiar turn of events when Ruthie broke her leg in the car accident and was put in a full body cast. A full body cast?! I should have realized earlier that this book was set in the 1960s, but a child with no historical reference for Castro would be just as clueless as I was. This makes me wonder about the kid re ...more
Donna Gephart
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I was young, my mom shielded me from difficult things. I learned about hard things from books. To this day, books have provided my foundation for understanding man's inhumanity to man, cruelty, life's challenges, etc. I wish I had a book like LUCKY BROKEN GIRL by Ruth Behar to read when I was young. It's such a beautiful, hope-filled blend of memoir/creative non-fiction about a Jewish girl who comes with her family from Cuba to New York. A terrible accident leaves her in a body cast and bed ...more
Because this was based on the author's personal accounts of an accident where she was in a body cast for a year, I was most interested in finding out how she ended up. But listening to 6 CDs of the author narrating the story just about made me poke my eardrums out with a sharp stick. The whole thing was sing-songy and whiney. But when someone is in a body cast for an entire year, you kinda want to know how it all turned out. ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aww how heart twistingly sweet:)
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The 2018 Pura Belpre Award winner, Lucky Broken Girl, tells an incredible story of healing, forgiveness, and love. Through the voice of ten-year-old Ruthie Mizrahi, author Ruth Behar shares a fictionalized version of her own childhood trauma. Ruthie's family has recently immigrated from Cuba to Queens, New York. Ruthie is just starting to adjust to her new life when she gets in a terrible car accident that leaves her bedridden indefinitely. In the months that follow, she struggles to answer this ...more
Phil Jensen
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
"When we lived in Cuba, I was smart. But when we got to Queens, in New York City, in the United States of America, I became dumb, just because I couldn't speak English."

With these brilliant first lines, Ruth Behar launches into a narrative that starts strong, collapses into a tangled mess, and ends as a puddle of sugary goo.

The beginning portion set up some great dynamics: her frustrations at school, her mysterious friends Ramu and Danielle, her grief over Cuba, and her family dynamics. Next, th
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, j
Have you ever had an experience that totally changed the course of your life? Ruth thought that her life was already off-course. But then, she got terrible news.

One of my middle school Pizza & Paperbacks kids recommended this to me, so I decided to add it to my 2018 Middle School booktalk line-up.

Ruth breaks her leg, and her doctor decides that she needs a cast that covers not only her broken leg, but also her other leg (because she's still growing), and her torso. I doubt this would be the trea
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lucky Broken Girl in my opinion was really really good. I loved how the book created suspense at multiple points throughout the story. I never wanted to put it down. I thought it was really unique that the author, Ruth Behar, included different characters of 5 different cultures in the book. The book had some Spanish and French words in it which I also liked. Lucky Broken Girl was a quick read that I would recommend to anyone.
That last line though... so beautiful and while I think it was a little slow in pacing, it was a fabulous hopeful and uplifting story about the power of the human connection and art in recovery hearkening to stories of Frida Kahlo, but wait for it... Ruth Behar herself and the accident that left her much like Ruthie.

A captivating middle grade with an immigrant experience story and how sometimes being misunderstood means having to find the people that understand you and root for you.
Julia Hoover
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was great! It was so inspirational and hopeful. It was inspirational because Ruthie showed me that you can do anything you put yourself too! It was hopeful because every step of the way she had hope and faith, and thats what helped her stay strong. The word usage in the book was great too, it was easier to read in-spite of the confusing situation. She showed me that I should stay strong and just do my best.
Ava Pratt
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ruthie is a normal girl, but has some obstacles that she needs to face in order to survive. First, she recently moved from Cuba, so she is seen differently due to that. Her family barely bring in enough money to pay the bills. Also, her family gets into a devastating situation. Will Ruthie overcome what is coming next?
Overall, Lucky Broken Girl was a amazing book that defiantly deserved 4 stars. This book kept me interested because there is always something going on. I would recommend this book
Filled with culture, infused with love, Lucky Broken Girl is a message of perseverance, and hope.
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