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Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington meets Ways to Make Sunshine in this heartfelt middle grade novel about a determined young girl who must rely on her ingenuity and scientific know-how to save her beloved cat.

Twelve-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend Thomas just moved a billion and one miles away from Florida to Washington, DC. Her dad is job searching and he’s been super down lately. Her phone screen cracked after a home science experiment gone wrong. And of all people who could have moved into Thomas’s old house down the street, Mira gets stuck with Tamika Smith, her know-it-all nemesis who’s kept Mira in second place at the school science fair four years running.

Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has been the most stable thing in her life lately, but now he seems off, too. With her phone gone and no internet over the weekend at her strict Gran’s house, Mira must research Fig’s symptoms the old-fashioned way: at the library. She determines that he has “the silent cat killer” diabetes. A visit to the vet confirms her diagnosis, but that one appointment stretched family funds to the limit—they’ll never be able to afford cat insulin shots.

When Mira’s parents tell her they may have to give Fig up to people who can afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the $2,000 needed within a month. Armed with ingenuity, determination, and one surprising ally, can Mira save her best (four-legged) friend before it’s too late?

First published March 22, 2022

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About the author

Sonja Thomas

9 books15 followers
Sonja Thomas (she/her) writes stories for readers of all ages, often featuring brave, everyday girls doing extraordinary things. Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is her debut middle grade novel. She's also a contributing author for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic. Raised in Central Florida—home of the wonderful world of Disney, humidity, and hurricanes—and a Washington, DC, transplant for eleven years (go Nats!), she’s now “keeping it weird” in the Pacific Northwest with her roommate and four pawesome cats.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
April 2, 2022
What a deeply moving, charming, & heartwarming story. I loved this. This has so many relatable issues for kids. A best friend that moved away but trying to stay best friends, a parent who lost a job & the financial strain & issues that causes, & the love of pets & future dreams. I loved Mira’s determination, & yes-PERSISTENCE! Lol I loved the dynamic between Tamika & Mira, & even Mira & her parents. I love all the ways Mira persisted for her cat, & all the methods she tried. Sir Fig Newton of course has my heart. What an amazing cat. Anyone who has had a pet get sick can relate to those aspects of the story- I know I definitely could. I love how no matter what, Mira refused to give up on Fig. Pets are family. There is discussion in here on faith, & on what that can mean to each person. I felt uncomfortable reading some of the things about God(Mira doesn’t believe), but that’s only because I DO believe in God. Not everyone believes the same things though, & I don’t expect them to. So that in no way made me enjoy the book any less. She is a science girl after all lol, & I’ve seen many people of science who didn’t believe. They believe in science & facts more so than God & just faith. Even though she doesn’t believe, she keeps her faith in Sir Fig & his health. Loved that. There’s great humor in here, so many amazing lessons/messages..Change can be hard(like a best friend moving), but if you give it a chance, great things can come from it. & no matter how many times life may knock you down, keep getting back up & fighting. Loved this. Highly recommend! This is out now! STUNNING cover front & back by Brittney Bond too!💜
Profile Image for Julie.
686 reviews15 followers
May 17, 2022
4.5 stars for this debut novel.

There are so many elements of this book that I really like...showing the often natural progression of friends when you move, the very realistic reality of a parent being out of work, and having kids solve problems in a realistic way. I often discuss with my students how in order for a middle grade main character to be the hero in their story, the parents need to be out of the way, and that's not always easy for authors to do, but I think Thomas did a great job with the level of parental involvement in this book.

As a note to teachers, it's a bit on the longer side for the 4th/5th grade audience that it's well suited for.
Profile Image for Tracy Badua.
Author 3 books92 followers
November 30, 2021
This is such an enjoyable, heartfelt story about a girl’s love for her cat and the joys and struggles of navigating new and changing friendships. Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is about Mira, a science-minded girl whose best furry friend, Sir Fig Newton, gets sick. She’ll do whatever she can to help him and raise money for his treatment. Tons of cool science and American history facts are woven throughout and will be sure to keep young readers sneakily learning as they turn the pages. There’s also plenty of beautiful moments exploring economic insecurity, faith, and the lengths we’ll go to help each other. Reading about Mira and Sir Fig Newton made me want to hug my own pet a little tighter.
Profile Image for Leigh Lewis.
Author 3 books8 followers
December 1, 2021
Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence has everything my tween heart would have loved and my adult heart adores. From best friend moving away to enemies-to-friends to girl scientist saving the day, this book celebrates friendship, ingenuity, persistence and love, all surrounding a healthy dose of heartache.

Mira is a character who makes you want to root for her. She’s far from perfect and totally relatable. She’s and indefatigable, creative kid who is willing to stop at nothing to save her cat. She’s got big dreams and big problems, and nothing’s going to get in theway of her tackling both. What’s not to love?

This is the kind of book that middle-graders pass around. The very best kind!
Profile Image for Shawn Peters.
Author 2 books57 followers
December 28, 2021
Full of STEM-girl power and inspiring persistence, this book feels like a cross between an amazing first hug from a future best friend and also pure jet fuel for imagination and hope.

Twelve-year-old Mira’s summer is shaping up to be THE WORST. Her best friend, Thomas is moving from Florida to Washington, DC. , meaning she's losing her biggest supporter right when her mother is overworked and under-available, and her father is wallowing in post-layoff-depression. Then, when her arch-rival, Tamika, moves into Thomas' old house and ends up in her group a summer STEM camp for girls, she's convinced nothing could be worse.

That's when she realizes her cat, Sir Fig Newton, is sick and in need of expensive tests and treatments.

With her family finances already stressed to the breaking point and her own sense of self teetering, Mira opens her mind to solutions and her heart to help from unlikely sources, as she tries anything and everything to save her cat, her family and her dreams of someday being a brilliant scientist who studies the universe.

Sonja Thomas pulls off the trick of making a book that feels amazingly grounded in real things kids care about (their best friends, their pets, and their far off dreams) while also opening up the readers eyes (and Mira's) to the wider world of faith, family financial woes and true loss. This book will make young (and not-so-young) readers smile and laugh, while also hitting them right in the feels over and over again as we root for Mira to just keep going until she can catch a break
Profile Image for Susan.
932 reviews64 followers
October 17, 2022
There's plenty to love about this empowering MG novel, although there are a few things that bugged as well. I like its emphasis on the importance of girls in STEM, using your talents and skills to reason out solutions to problems, learning how to deal with change in a healthy way, and persisting in achieving a worthy goal. Some good lessons about friendship are also taught in this book. The story also deals with issues that most kids will find familiar like financial struggles, worry/grief over sick and dying pets, and changing friendships. The fact that Mira is juggling all of these problems at the same time makes her both sympathetic and relatable.

While I like that Mira is a smart, determined heroine, I didn't love her as a character. Other than trying to help her cat, she's quite self-centered. I would have liked to see her get outside herself more. It also annoyed me a little that she reaches her money goal mostly by collecting donations instead of actually having to work hard and struggle to save her cat. A better lesson would have been taught if she'd had to really sacrifice (like, say, giving up STEM camp) to do it. Also, the idea of Mira's parents having to give up the cat because they can't afford treatments didn't ring super true to me. Medical practices usually offer payment plans and free samples of medicine to offset the high costs of medical care. Those things were never mentioned in the book. This last bit will make me sound like a cold-hearted animal hater (which I'm not), but I had a little trouble with the fact that people were throwing in so much money to save a diabetic CAT when there are plenty of diabetic people out there who can't afford insulin and other medicine and treatments for diabetes. When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I was one of them. So, yeah, that rubbed me the wrong way a little. In addition to these irritants, SIR FIG NEWTON AND THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE ran a tad long for me. It could have been trimmed down for sure, although I still whipped through it in a day. I'm not sure kids would stick around that long, though.

Considering all these things, this book was just an average read for me. I didn't love it, didn't hate it.
Profile Image for Marta Murvosh.
90 reviews6 followers
January 18, 2022
Budding scientist Mira's summer is off to a rough start.

Her dad who was laid off from his engineering job has the doldrums because he hasn't gotten any interviews. (Mira has a hypothesis that she can help his mood with the right playlist. She just needs to test her theory.)

Her science fair rival, Tamika, has started showing up on Mira's doorstop and might trying to spy on Mira's plans for the next fair.

Her best friend, Thomas' family moved half a country away and during their video call, Mira's broke when her current science experiment exploded.

Microwave + grapes = plasma.
Plasma + microwave = blown electric circuit + annoyed father + startled cat + broken phone.
Broken phone + tight finances = email and landline to talk to Thomas.

Summer goes from bad to worse when her beloved cat Sir Fig Newton starts to sleep all day, lose weight and have other symptoms that Mira realizes (through research at the neighborhood library) is diabetes. Diagnosing Fig's illness, confirmed with a trip to the vet, is just the first step. While Fig can be treated, Mira's parents can't afford the regular testing and insulin injections their beloved kitty needs. So Mira's mom and dad want to find another home for Fig where he can be loved and cared for.

And just when she needs to talk to her best friend the most, Thomas is drifting away, hanging out with new friends and exploring the museums of his new city.

It's an equation for a horrible summer.

Can Mira figure out how to raise money to help Fig? What is she going to do about Tamika and Thomas?

Fortunately, Mira is observant, persistent and she has an entire neighborhood and extended family and friends who have her back. She just doesn't realize it quite yet.

Teachers and school librarians should know:
This book is filled with fun loveable characters who love STEM. Mira's father is an engineer and their neighbor is a mom who works for NASA. Sir Fig Newton is adorable even when he wakes Mira up at 5 am for breakfast he is adorable.

Mira's world is populated by scientist and engineers of color providing great role models for herself and she and her "nemesis" Tamika are total black girl magic in STEM.

Mira grows by understanding interpersonal communication and empathy, especially with adults and with peers. For example, Mira worked to understand a neighbor's frustration after Mira accidentally woke her sleeping infant. As her nemesis becomes her friend, Mira had to reevaluate her previous frustrations with Tamika. Mira finally asks the reason Tamika uses her full first name Elmira and Tamika responds she was saying El Mira, as in That Mira or The Boss, which was intended as flattery.

It's would be a great addition to a school library collection and a great read-aloud.

My favorite bits:
How sensitively Sonja Thomas wrote about Mira fears that her cat would be given to another family.

How Mira's best friend Thomas calls her Miraium because she's strongest element. The two predict that Mira will discover a new element and name it Miraium.

The book design is adorable with drawings of cats, beakers, hydrogen molecules and rocket ships.
Profile Image for Kellye Crocker.
Author 1 book12 followers
March 12, 2022
Twelve-year-old Mira Williams is experiencing one bummer of a summer. Her dad, who was laid off from a space-and-technology firm, is having trouble finding work; her best friend, Thomas, moved 901 miles from Florida to Washington, D.C., and her nemesis and science-fair rival, Tamika, has moved nearby—into Thomas’ house. Even her phone is broken, and there’s no money to replace it. When Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, becomes sick, her parents say they’ll need to give him to someone who can afford his treatment. But Mira begs for a chance to raise the $2,000 they need, and her parents give her a month.

Mira, a future astronaut and astrophysicist, uses critical thinking and research skills to diagnose Sir Fig’s diabetes—“the silent cat killer.” After a vet officially confirms the illness, Mira gets creative to raise money for his care.

Mira is a biracial Black girl—her dad is Black and her mom is white—who is smart, optimistic, and doggedly determined, yet also refreshingly real as she copes with frustration, doubt and fear. In fact, all the characters are well-rendered, including supporting players and Sir Fig himself. Animal lovers will appreciate Mira and her cat’s special bond.

With Thomas out of her daily life, Mira veers out of her comfort zone to forge new friendships with a small group of science-loving girls and a growing network of caring adults. Many readers will relate to the financial strain and its rippling stresses facing this loving, white-collar family. The crisis also prompts Mira to explore issues of faith. If she believed like her Christian grandmother, would Jesus save Sir Fig?

Overall, Sonja Thomas’ middle grade debut offers an inspiring story that celebrates girl-power ingenuity, the joy of science, and the life-altering magic of connection and community.

Disclaimer: I received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased opinion about the book.
Profile Image for Jaime.
60 reviews
March 15, 2022
This such a sweet, smart book, full of science and heart. It’s definitely a new favorite of mine, one that I’ll be recommending to students for years to come.
Twelve-year-old Mira, a science whiz and devoted cat-lover, is not having the greatest summer. He best friend moved away, her dad’s struggling after being laid off, her arch-nemesis Tamika is popping up everywhere, and now her beloved cat, Sir Fig, is showing signs of failing health. Mira’s research shows that he may have diabetes, and a trip to the vet confirms her diagnosis. Unfortunately, that one visit was all Mira’s family can afford. There’s no way they’ll be able to cover the expensive medicine Fig needs, especially with Dad out of work. Her parents feel that the best way to help Fig is to find a home for him with someone who can afford to give him the treatment he needs. Mira can’t accept that and begs for time to raise the money herself. But how?
I really enjoyed reading Mira’s story. She’s such a great new heroine—interesting, fun, innovative, and persistent. I was rooting for her all the way. I also loved her relationship with her family, and I really liked the way her and Tamika’s relationship grew and changed. All in all, this was a really great read!
Profile Image for Sam Subity.
Author 1 book45 followers
November 17, 2021
Such a sweet story of kid power in the form of a main character named Mira (nickname "Miranium" after the strongest stuff in the universe) who uses science to diagnose her beloved cat Sir Fig Newton when he becomes seriously ill. Loved all the relationships in here from the parents who felt very real to the arch-nemesis who lives across the street, and the way the whole community comes together to help save Fig, with the one big question: If curiosity killed the cat, can scientific curiosity save one??
Profile Image for Nancy.
Author 3 books30 followers
November 18, 2021
Spunky, stem-minded, super fun read! Fantastic portrayal of the very real way kids' friendships ebb and flow, with characters so richly drawn you'll feel like you're sitting on Gran's plastic couch next to Mira. Fantastic, factual science tidbits wrapped up in a life-or-death mystery. This will be perfect for middle grade book clubs and classroom read-alouds!
Profile Image for Melissa Dassori.
Author 1 book18 followers
October 29, 2021
What a charming, original, empathetic, educational and well-paced story! Sonja Thomas’s debut follows science-loving Mia on her quest to stop her parents from giving away her beloved cat when the diabetes she correctly diagnoses would be too costly for her family to treat. Readers will definitely root for Mia, who is smart and spunky with a serious side that makes her a wonderfully-drawn protagonist. I see kids reading and rereading this one with great pleasure!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read an ARC.
Profile Image for Michael Leali.
Author 2 books52 followers
March 8, 2022
An utterly charming story of friendship, the power of science, and the spirit of determination. Sonja Thomas captures the heart of the reader from the very first page with her authentic and genuine voice. Mira comes to life through every word. From a best friend moving away to a sick cat, Mira's story is relatable on so many levels. Young readers are going to fly through these pages, eager to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Ms. Yingling.
1,222 reviews492 followers
October 27, 2022
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Mira is all set to have a great summer in Florida with her best friend Thomas, going to camp and doing science experiements (like microwaving grapes; this doesn't end well), but when his family suddenly relocates to Washington, D.C. Their fathers both were engineers at a company that laid off many workers, and her father (who is Black) is struggling to find a job. Her mother (who is white) has gone back to work, leaving the family at the mercy of the father's less than spectacular cooking skills. When Mira breaks her mother's old phone, there is no chance she will get it replaced, so she has to rely on the landline to talk to Thomas. When her cat, Sir Fig Newton, seems lethargic, she is worried about him. Research leads her to believe he might have diabetes, but she is sent to spend time with her grandmother before she can tell her parents. Her father's mother is active in her church, very proper, and loves cats as well. Mira finds it somewhat difficult to connect to herr, because she lives an hour away and the two don't spend much time together, but finds that her grandmother is supportive. Armed with a magazine article about feline diabetes, Mira tells her parents about her cat when she gets home, and they take Sir Fig Newton to the vet right away. Mira's diagnosis is correct, but the treatment is expensive. On top of some other emergencies, the family doesn't have the money, and the parents feel that the best option is to give the cat up for adoption. Mira, still reeling from Thomas' departure, begs for time to raise funds. When her nemesis, Tamika, moves into Thomas' house, she finds an unlikely ally. She tries a number of ways to make money, like babysitting, dog walking, and running a lemonade stand. Mira is also deep into an experiment to try to improve her father's mood with music. Will Mira, along with her new friend, Tamkia, be able to save Sir Fig Newton?
Strengths: Having a parent in an unstable job situation is definitely becoming more common in reality, so it's good to see this in fiction. That said, I was also glad to see that the mother had steady employment, and that the father eventually found work. The impact of this on Mira's life is portrayed in a very pragmatic way, and she understands her parents' motivations, even if she doesn't agree with them. Dealing with the sickness of a pet is something many young readers will understand as well. I liked the relationship with Tamkia; a lot of tweens have preconcieved notions about fellow classmates that change when they get to know the other person. I'd love to see more of this in middle grade literature. Throwin in a grandparent or two never hurts.
Weaknesses: This is a bit on the long side at over 350 pages; it almost could have been two books. The cover makes this look a bit younger than it is.
What I really think: Add this to the list of friendship stories that also include science, like Rosenberg's One Small Hop, Doleski's Mary Underwater and Pérez's Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers.
Author 1 book46 followers
March 27, 2022
For Mira Williams, the summer after sixth grade is nothing like what she expected. Her best friend Thomas has moved to Washington, DC—hundreds of miles from her Florida home—her parents are behaving differently since her dad lost his job, and one small disaster after another leaves Mira feeling lower than she ever has before. But Mira is a scientist, and she does not give up; she turns to her trusted science to collect facts and test hypotheses while doing her best to make everything better. When Mira visits her grandmother one weekend, however, she is introduced to another way of seeing the world, and as things continue to crumble around her, Mira finds herself seeking an unexpected balance between facts and faith.

This fast-paced, contemporary middle grade novel is especially well suited to young girls with a passion for science. Much of the story focuses on the facts that Mira uncovers as challenges arise in her life, and interesting tidbits of information are also woven into the text. These additions ground readers in science and knowledge while encouraging a logical approach to problem-solving. Alongside this is an examination of the myriad emotions taking place in Mira’s body and mind. From disagreements with her parents to the loneliness of having her best friend move far away, Mira is struggling to regain her footing as her familiar world changes around her. Middle grade readers are sure to recognize these feelings and will empathize with Mira as she works through each of them herself.

Middle grade readers who enjoy stories about persistent characters who persevere through challenges will connect with Mira from the first pages of this book. Mira often references Albert Einstein and Mae Jamison throughout the novel, bringing readers’ attention to two of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century. While there is always room for more, Mira appreciates the contributions of these minds and they serve as inspirations for Mira’s own intellectual pursuits. The blend between tangible facts and less concrete emotions found within this book makes for a thought-provoking approach that will resonate with readers of all ages. This is a heartfelt and inspiring addition to library collections for middle grade readers.

I received a copy of this book from the author and I chose to leave this review.
Profile Image for Alisha.
759 reviews7 followers
January 11, 2022
Mira is having the worst summer ever. Her dad lost his job, her best friend moved to DC and suddenly it seems like her cat, Sir Fig Newton, isn’t feeling well.

Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is a fun middle grade novel that touches on some serious subjects.

I don’t always like Mira, she can be rather myopic in her views, but she did read like a realistic, relatable kid most of the time.

I would have loved it if this book went into more STEM activities. I like the idea of the app and the “mood music” experiment. I was not a fan of the grape experiment since it is very dangerous even with parental supervision.

I was surprised that not only did it touch on some scientific questions but also questions of faith and religion. I think this is definitely a book that parents and children should read and discuss together.

Probably my favorite part was the way that it dealt with friendships. Long distance friendships are hard to maintain for both kids and adults. I’m also glad this book didn’t have a “bully” in it. We have plenty of books with those. Instead, it had a female friendship that started with some misunderstandings and then blossomed into something good.

Overall, I would recommend this book for kids ages 8-12.

For those who want to know if the cat dies:

Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lesley.
375 reviews
November 29, 2022

Twelve-year-old Mira Williams is having a bad summer. Her father lost his job, so money is tight and her mother is working and dad now cooks; best friend Thomas has moved to Washington, D.C.; her enemy and major Science Fair competitor, Tamika Smith, has moved into Thomas’ old house and, improbably, seems interested in hanging out; and Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has developed diabetes, “the silent cat killer,” an expensive illness to treat.

However, Mira is a budding scientist—her hero is Einstein, and she plans to become an astronomer-astrophysicist. But does she have the four qualities of every great scientist: patience, curiosity, being observant, and persistence? And will those qualities help her solve her problems?

As Mira wrestles with Thomas making a new friend in D.C. and her “frenemyship” with Tamika, who she learns is not as Mira assumed, and creating a plan to raise the money needed to save Fig, she also discovers, not religion, but the power of faith. As her Gran tells her, “Faith allows for possibilities.” (99)

“I was strong like miranium. I wasn’t afraid. I believed. My faith was in the facts. The indestructible, indisputable facts.” (105) Although she also learns that sometimes the facts are not what you originally believe.

This is a story of persistence, resilience, friendship, and support—and science.
Profile Image for Elissa.
270 reviews13 followers
March 13, 2022
Here's my review because I was lucky enough to pecure an ARC through #netgalley

Mira is not going to go to let go of her ambitions even with the summer starting out with her best friends move, her Dad's lack of job prospects, and her arch-enemy spying on her for science fair Intel. But when Mira is hit with the hardest blow will her science know-how be enough to save that which she holds dear?

Mira reasons, researches, hypothesizes, and experiments throughout her mission. She's a great character for STEM minded girls to relate to and I especially appreciated the diverse cast of strong women that surrounded her. It's great for girls to see women who are in charge of their own identities as mothers and career women.

I loved how Mira reacted as a preteen would under stressful situations but always came around to her supportive family when she needed to aplogize. There's also gems of lessons in Thomas's book about the dynamics of friendships that Mira, just like most of us, had to learn the hard way. I wouldn't hesitate to give this darling book to any middle grade kid- especially one who's into STEM, space, or needs a life model of persistence!
Profile Image for Melanie Dulaney.
1,323 reviews63 followers
July 7, 2022
Mira’s summer is looking like the worst ever-her best friend for forever has moved 900 miles away, her father is still jobless and in charge of the cooking while mom is stuck working, her arch-nemesis has moved onto her street, and her cat has developed diabetes and will be put up for adoption if she cannot earn the money needed to treat him. But Mira is smart and determined to use science (and anything else necessary) to fix everything. Sonja Thomas’ debut middle grade novel will keep readers wondering if Mira will be able to solve any of her significant problems and along the way, slide in facts about space, astronomy, Einstein, and some amazing Black women throughout history. Representation: girls interested in STEM fields, Black, Caucasian and mixed race characters. No sexual content, profanity, or violence (except what is done to a few grapes). Excellent choice for libraries seeking more STEM-focused fiction and Black characters.

Thanks for the print arc, Sonja Thomas and Simon & Schuster Kids.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,176 reviews
July 21, 2022
I loved this book. I read it aloud to my science-loving 9yo, and she liked it too. It incorporated science, friendship, family, feeling lost, creativity, and all the challenges common to kids that age (11-12). The only thing I would have liked to see more of was a deeper attachment of the main character to her cat. Maybe I don't realize that girl-cat relationships are different from girl-dog relationships, but the cat felt a little too distanced from her, considering the whole book is about her trying to save her cat. I think I wanted to see more emotional attachment, the kind a dog demands, but, like I said, maybe a cat doesn't, and I just don't know from personal experience. Maybe a deeper emotion? In all fairness, this is something that a first-person narrative often leaves me wanting in general.
1,173 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2022
This was FABULOUS. I was gutted by the possibility of Mira having to give up Fig, and I loved watching all of Mira's new friendships develop. I was a little sad about the way things went with Thomas, and I do wish that Mira's choices regarding their friendship were explored more. Mira did recognize that she pushed Thomas away before he had a chance to abandon their friendship, but she never had a dialog with him about that or the way that she chose to show up in their friendship. I can't help but feel like that could have gone much better, especially since it was so clear how much Thomas loved Mira. But that said, it is realistic. Some friendships do fizzle out like that, and you never take the opportunity to talk it through.
Profile Image for Sally Engelfried.
Author 2 books5 followers
December 1, 2021
Mira is a fun, funny, science-loving girl who is dealing with her best friend moving away, her family’s money struggles after her dad loses her job, and a broken cell phone. But none of those hardships compares to her beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, getting sick with diabetes. Mira must figure out a way to pay for the expensive vet bills on her own, and readers will root for her every step of the way as she grapples with big themes like faith, determination, and the power of asking for help. Despite all the challenges she comes up against, Mira’s spirit remains full of oomph (as she calls it), and she manages to spread high spirits around to others as well. A highly satisfying read!
Profile Image for Bonnie Grover.
765 reviews8 followers
March 6, 2022
“Faith allows for possibilities.” For Mira Williams, the summer is not off to a great start. Her best friend, Thomas has moved, her dad has been laid off and Tamika Smith, Mira’s nemesis, just moved into Thomas’s old house. And to top it off, her cat Sir Fig Newton has the silent cat killer: diabetes. The treatment is expensive and her family can’t afford it.
It will take science, persistence, and love to help Mira with her biggest project ever: saving Sir Fig and helping her dad out of his funk.

I read this debut novel in one sitting. It is about friendship, believing in yourself and the power of a community.
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,966 reviews7 followers
October 20, 2022
Positives: Mira's feelings are intense and all over the place, which is very realistic for her age. As advertised, she definitely demonstrates persistence, trying multiple ways to solve her problems even when they initially fail. I liked that she didn't do everything on her own: her community, her friends and her family helped her both to keep her spirits up in the face of adversity, and materially. Mira believably learns and grows throughout the story. I also liked that she explored faith and imagination versus facts and logic.

Negatives: I got that science was her passion, but the constant repetitive affirmations that she wanted to grow up and be an astronaut got tiring.
Profile Image for Winnett.
176 reviews
February 22, 2022
If you've ever had a pet, especially as a child, you know exactly how far you'll go to make sure your furry friend is happy and healthy. Mira is a science!girl who likes to do home experiments, and, feeling somewhat isolated due to her friend moving, she puts all of her efforts into discovering what is wrong with her kitty and finding the solution. She won't back down.

It's a great story of dedication and friendships and finding unlikely allies. Mira is a gem that any crazy cat girl can relate to.
Profile Image for Ariel.
1,700 reviews30 followers
April 4, 2022
A sweet, but not too sweet, MG book about a girl who loves science, her sick cat, her best friend who’s moved away, and her dad, who’s been laid off and is very depressed. With her scientific reasoning, other friends, and a lot of determination, she tackles her problems and finds a way out of many of them. I especially liked it because the girl’s love of science reminded me of my own sweet daughter who is majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Profile Image for Candice.
344 reviews7 followers
May 31, 2022
I loved this novel about Mira overcoming obstacles. She’s a scientist and scientists look at things in certain ways. Her best friend is moving away and her nemesis manages to insert herself into Mira’s life. I’m addition, something is wrong with her cat and Mira is determined to help him. Can she overcome all the obstacles set in front of her? Reading this great middle grade novel will help you to find out and teach you all about persistence and life’s ups and downs.
1,068 reviews6 followers
June 25, 2022
Yes to this whole book! Girls interested in, and successful and supported, in STEM. Friends and enemies that become friends. Pets, sickness, working for a cause and real family issues. Beliefs, respecting others beliefs, finding your own beliefs. So many great topics that didn’t feel jumbled or distracting. I think the storyline with Thomas could have been left out;it’s conclusion was the only weakness I found in the book. I look forward to recommending this book to readers.
1,068 reviews6 followers
October 7, 2022
Yes to this whole book! Girls interested in, and successful and supported, in STEM. Friends and enemies that become friends. Pets, sickness, working for a cause and real family issues. Beliefs, respecting others beliefs, finding your own beliefs. So many great topics that didn’t feel jumbled or distracting. I think the storyline with Thomas could have been left out;it’s conclusion was the only weakness I found in the book. I look forward to recommending this book to readers.
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203 reviews4 followers
November 23, 2022
This is a fun novel for younger readers, with a loveable main character and wonderful BIPOC representation. Despite its sweet and light-hearted tone, it’s a moving story about friendship, family and loss. With teachable moments about how to deal with difficult times and persisting in your goals, Sonja Thomas is a wonderful new children’s fiction author.

Read my full review on aminasbookshelf.com / IG @aminasbookshelf
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