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Every Shiny Thing

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  112 reviews
In this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams (first published April 17th 2018)
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  404 ratings  ·  112 reviews


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Kate ☀️ Olson
It is incredibly rare for me to say this, but this book did every. single. thing. right. If I were reviewing for a trade pub, I would recommend a star because this is my middle grade/middle school perfection. And to put it in perspective, this is the first MG title that has made me cry since I read THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU by Jen Maschari back in August.....and I read a LOT of MG!

EVERY SHINY THING nails it with the following things:
* gorgeous alternating verse and prose - this structure provides
...more
Jenn Bishop
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm such a sucker for alternating POV books, and yet, I hold them to high standards. Both perspectives need to be equally compelling, both characters need to have equivalently high stakes and distinct interior worlds. EVERY SHINING THING gives us two characters from very different backgrounds. Lauren's family is affluent and stable, but her older autistic brother's departure for a special school several states away has left her unhinged. In his absence, she turns to a new, quickly developing, we ...more
Ms. Yingling
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Lauren is angry with her well-to-do parents because they have sent her brother Ryan, who is on the autism spectrum, off to a residential school. She misses him, and thinks her parents just got tired of dealing with Ryan's problems. She attends a private Quaker school that preaches simplicity even though most of the students are from very rich backgrounds and don't necessarily follow these teachings. Sierra's father is in jail, and her mother is an alcoholic who has finall
...more
Stephanie
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
In Every Shiny Thing, the POV switches from Lauren, a wealthy, privileged girl who misses her brother who is autistic and sent away to a special school, and Sierra, whose parents are both in jail, forcing her into foster care. Lauren's chapters are written in prose while Sierra's are in verse, which can be a compelling storytelling technique. However I thought Sierra's chapters were much more engaging and well-written than Lauren's, and I feel that if we just stayed in Sierra's POV and Lauren wa ...more
Kathie
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five big shiny stars for EVERY SHINY THING. I loved so many things about this multi-layered and rich story, including the prose/verse format, character development, and a very real look at the complex teenage mind. This will definitely find a place in my favorite #MGlit of 2018.
Charlotte Huang
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Told with so much heart. Absolutely loved this one.
Suze Lavender
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ryan is Lauren's world. She loves taking care of her brother and thinks he's doing well at home, but Lauren's parents have chosen to send Ryan to a boarding school where teens on the autism spectrum are supposed to thrive. Lauren is lost, she doesn't know who she is without her brother and misses him dearly. Her parents are convinced it's the best choice for Ryan and don't want to talk about their decision. Lauren's best friend doesn't understand what it's like to feel so lonely and doesn't supp ...more
Kim Bahr
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet story! Definitely more of a 4.5.
Enjoyed the alternating points of view and the mix of writing styles. Many ideas to ponder after reading this book.
Olivia
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, this book really frustrated me, the main character, Lauren, although she does questionable things for the right reasons, the things that she does are out of control. < spoiler >She not only is risking her own families happiness, she is risking her so called friend, Sierra! Sierra is a foster child and if she is suspected, she may be sent away. Lauren does things for very admirable reasons and she has a kind heart, but at one point she steals perfume from a person's house, one ...more
Maggie Mattmiller
I've said it before- I have read books with a main character I don't like (because it's designed to be that way, or something...) but this was one in which I did not like one of the two main characters, and it made me really not like the book. I was annoyed much of the time with the book, for giving this character a platform. I understand the intentions, but it was not carried out in a way that I could like the book despite her personality/actions. I just didn't like her and thus struggled with ...more
Sarah
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally, I am one who quickly tires of literary trends. However, I'm still a fan of books told from alternating points of view. Every Shiny Thing, which centers around two middle school girls, does an excellent job of doing just that.
The novel ping-pongs between text and verse. Lauren narrates her side of the story in traditional text. As the seventh-grade school year begins she is angry with her parents for sending her older brother off to a special boarding school for students on the autism
...more
Emily
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely book about family, friendship, grief, change, and forgiveness. I received an ARC of this at NerdcampNJ and had no idea what it was about. The cover, although beautiful, doesn't really suggest how substantive the story is.

The two main characters, Lauren and Sierra, are both 7th graders. Lauren is struggling with the absence of her older, autistic brother who is beginning his first year at a specialized, residential school in North Carolina (Lauren and her family live in Philadelphia
...more
Niki
NOTE: I received an ARC of Every Shiny Thing through a book group in exchange for my honest review. (However, this book is now available to purchase.)

Every Shiny Thing is very unique. Told from alternating POV, one in prose and one in verse, the characters' stories complement each other. Lauren is struggling to deal with her brother with autism moving away to attend a specialized school, as well as the inequities she is beginning to notice around her. Sierra is struggling to deal with her mother
...more
Erin McElroy
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This is one of the best middle grades novels I have ever read. Told from the perspectives of two 7th graders, both of whom are dealing with a family upheaval. The authors get the emotions so very right and the social situations are completely believable. There is nothing awkward about the transitions between the two narrators, one character speaking in prose, the other in verse. Highly recommended.
Miriam McNamara
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect alternating POV! The poetry made me cry, and the prose gave the story fantastic momentum. I don't always have trouble putting down a middle grade book, but this one kept me turning the pages. Love!
Jenna
Read for Middle School Book club.

Alternating POVs that were easily discernible through prose / verse. It was a quick read and talked well through difficult subjects. I’ve already heard that some of the kids loved the book, so let’s see how the discussion goes....
Patrick
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Really good. Two girls each with very different backgrounds come together and help each other in more ways than they could imagine. Really strong writing and a story that keeps the reader engaged the entire experience!
Mae Respicio
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully compelling and layered book about friendship and family dynamics. The characters were realistic and believable and I loved the alternating verse/prose.
Marie Cruz
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was a joy to read. :)
Karina
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous, two voices middle grade book.
Natalie
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A YA novel that exposes how young friendships develop and change, both situationally and with age. We meet young Lauren at a tough time in her life with a big family change happening with her family. We meet Sierra at a tough life moment with her mom and readjusting to a new life. A sequence of events throws them together and, then, that sequence of events becomes a tangled web that shows how friendships form and how they fall apart. We learn that even the best intentions, when approached incorr ...more
Trisha
Perhaps a little too long for intended audience, but sensitive and authentic.

Lovely friendship story. Dual narrators, one written in verse.
Eva
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this dealt with a lot of hard things, but it did it really well. still not a huge fan of the poetry/prosey format that sierra's parts were written in, but overall, a good read.
Christina
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for a middle-school friendship story, and this one really tugged at my heartstrings. The unique combo of prose and verse was beautifully wrought. Gorgeous contemporary MG!
Jenny Ashby
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every Shiny Thing is told in an alternating point of view format. Lauren's chapters are narratives while Sierra's are free verse which makes the book read fairly fast. I also read through it quickly because I was caught up in the story. Both girls are good characters even though Lauren is quite flawed. Even when she believes she is doing good, she isn't. She is coming from a privileged life and is completely blind to her privilege when it comes to what she says and how she justifies her actions. ...more
Erin Moulton
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Shiny Thing centers on the lives of two girls. First we meet Lauren who is struggling to cope with her brother’s move to a boarding school for teens with autism. Then we have Sierra, a teen who has just been placed in foster care. When Sierra is placed in the foster home across the street from Lauren’s house, the two girls meet and become fast friends. Fed up with her parent’s perceived constant spending and motivated by her Quaker Schools legacy of philanthropy, Lauren becomes obsessed wi ...more
Laura Sibson
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved that this book is narrated by alternating points of view - one in prose and one in verse. Each time I transitioned from Lauren to Sierra's chapters and then back again, I was struck by the way that the two authors wove the themes and plotlines of the story together. The two voices gave the story a depth and richness that would have been difficult to achieve with just one narrator. It was so much fun for me to read about the area where I live and about a school so like my son's school. Bu ...more
Cassie Thomas
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sometimes, the best thing we can do for anyone is to let them fall. This is the best - maybe the only- way to help them."

This story involves so many truths that I think kids who are getting into the middle school scene need to read, hear, and be involved in. Whether they are dealing with the issues in Every Shiny Thing personally, or have heard/see others who are struggling, it is a necessary conversation that needs to be had. I had a lot of people come to mind as I was reading this story - ran
...more
Sandy O'Brien
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Sometimes, the best thing we can do for anyone it to let them fall. This is the best-maybe the only-way to help them.” Novel written in prose & verse that makes tough topics accessible for students. ...more
Nancy
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Loved it!
Told in two voices by two authors, with one great result. Great pick for a classroom read aloud; the author's experience as a teacher shines through!
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“Maude asks me why I'm not
more upset.
I tell her if you ride a roller coaster enough
it starts to feel like a carousel.
All the up, downs make a circle,
spinning.”
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