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Lucky Broken Girl

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,432 ratings  ·  596 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
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Hardcover, 243 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Maddie Helton Ruthie is 10 when the books starts out, and as time progresses her birthday passes and she turns 11. She is a Jewish Cuban, but she also tends to pray…moreRuthie is 10 when the books starts out, and as time progresses her birthday passes and she turns 11. She is a Jewish Cuban, but she also tends to pray to other gods and people like Frieda kalo because there is a blend of different cultures surrounding her.(less)

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3.95  · 
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 ·  2,432 ratings  ·  596 reviews


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Sarah Hannah
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 o ...more
Rana
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.
YA Wednesdays
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.
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.
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Tatiana
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
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.
Joan
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
Jana
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
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Rachel
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.
Christine
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.
Melanie
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.
Surina
It's sometime in the 1900s and Ruthie and her family just moved to the U.S. from Cuba. And just after her father gets them a car, they get into a crash, and Ruthie gets terribly injured. They put her in a body cast, and she stays bedridden for around a year.

First off: That's so sad. I'm getting genuinely upset thinking about it. Poor Ruthie. No one deserves a fate like that, and I can't imagine how devastating it was. And the Author's Note in the back of the book made me want to cry. Ruth Behar
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Natalie  Sapkarov 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
Jazzy
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aww how heart twistingly sweet:)
Jessica
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
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Raina
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j, historical
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
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Melody
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.
Lily
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.
Alicia
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
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Hannah
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars
Actual rating: 2.7 stars
Margie's Must Reads
Filled with culture, infused with love, Lucky Broken Girl is a message of perseverance, and hope.
Megan
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would have rated in 5 stars, but it was slow to start. Once it began to pick up, I couldn't put it down because the main character, Ruthie, her honesty and personal experiences were so touching. I also love how this is the story of the author- it makes it such much more genuine. We need more books like this written about the Latin/Hispanic culture who has truly lived it.
Amanda Hogle
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this book only thing is it's really sad! I know Natalie would like it.
The Reading Countess
I was hoping for more. I liked the immigration side story and diverse characters, but the writing felt clunky and unpolished.
Bailey Turner
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a girl who goes to New York from Cuba. And she goes to a school and she gets put in what she calls the dumb class and after a few days she gets put into the smart class and one day after school her dad buys them a brand new car and they go and take it out for a ride and something tragic happens to them and to other families throughout the book. But during the book, she makes some friends that will help her get through these tragic times that she faces. So hope you enjoy this b ...more
Patrick
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ruthie is enjoying her new life in New York from Cuba when she is in a terrible car accident. While spending a year in a body cast she learns more about herself, her life in Cuba, and the possibility that America has to offer. Beautiful and sweet story!
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