Read advance reader review of A Million Things by Emily Spurr, page 4 of 5

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A Million Things

by Emily Spurr

A Million Things by Emily Spurr X
A Million Things by Emily Spurr
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    Aug 2021, 304 pages

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  • Julie R. (Woodland, CA)
    A Million Things
    Overall, the book is beautifully writing and keeps the reader invested throughout. Our main character Rae is a 10-year-old child who lives with a mother who suffers from severe depression. One day Rae's mother leaves and never returns home. What is a child to do? Call for help? Not our main character Rae, she gets up, dust herself off, and continues to live her life like nothing has happened. The author does a fantastic job of making the reader feel like they are right there with Rae as she deals with the loss and pain of losing her mother and the steps she must take to survive.

    The friendship between Rae and her elderly neighbor Lettie is amazing. How two people can connect and form a friendship that helps them both through some troubling times is beautifully describe in this book. This book rips your heart out and then shows you that even if we face tragedy there is still hope of something good to come.
  • Beth P. (Chester, VA)
    A First for Me!
    I cannot remember a time when I started a book and did not move until it was finished. A Million Things, by Emily Spur, had me at the first chapter, and nothing was going to stop my reading until I finished this book about an amazing 10 year old girl, Rae, her dog, Splinter, and her next door neighbor, Lettie. Secrets abound in this story and it draws you in by the beautiful prose of this Australian author's debut novel and the unforgettable characters she has created. Rae is used to being alone, as her mom is not always there for her. But something happens that turns her world upside down, and we watch her cope with life in a way that "pierces like a bullet and soothes like a psalm"(Amy Jo Burns). It is a story about unconditional love, extreme sadness, and incredible resilience. "It captures the moments between loss and letting go" says one reviewer. Rae's neighbor, Lettie, an older woman who lives alone with her own secret, plays a significant role and her character is beautifully developed. We watch the relationship between Rae and Lettie grow and bloom, like an old dried up flower that is miraculously and beautifully alive, brought back with life giving water. This novel will stay with you long after it is read. I have the electronic copy, but I plan to buy a hard copy as soon as it is released in the US in August. Oh, keep your Kleenex handy while you read!
  • Milda S. (Warwick, NY)
    Secrets
    A Million Things by Emily Spurr is a novel that invites you into a world where every day is a challenge.

    Rae, a precocious nine year old, has been abandoned by her mother. This time her mother will not return She has been in this situation before, so Rae knows how to take care of herself and her dog. She makes sure that the house is presentable and that she is clean. She keeps to herself and avoids attention. This is hard to do when her nosy neighbor watches her constantly and a new boy keeps seeking her out to play. When a tragic accident occurs, Rae has to share her burdensome secret.

    A Million Things is a sensitive well-written book about a courageous young survivor whose heart is filled with love although her pain weighs her down.

    A Million Things deals with painful topics but it also flows with compassion.
  • Mary M. (Oregon City, OR)
    A stunning debut...Captivating? You bet! Right up to the end.
    A Million Things is the most enthralling novel that perfectly showcases the moment between loss and letting go, between childhood and growing up. You will fall in love with this heart-wrenching story about grief, friendship and sticking up for yourself. So, do yourself a favor and add A Million Things to your TBR pile, you will not be sorry! Bravo, Emily Spurr !
  • Carol E. (Bradenton, FL)
    Compelling and well written
    This book is well written and very hard to put down as you are driven to learn what happens to the 10 year old precocious child who is the narrator. I read it in one sitting, although I skimmed at times as it was a bit too wordy. You love the child, want to protect her and desperately want something to go her way. It is hard to say too much about the story without spoiling it. It is terribly sad and at times hair raising, but satisfying in the end. I will say that some aspects are just too extreme to be believable and some issues were never satisfactorily revealed. I would not recommend it to anyone who is grieving or depressed however, as there is quite a mountain to climb in this book before resolution occurs.
  • Ashleigh P. (Springfield, VA)
    Emotional and unique POV
    A Million Things is an emotional and thoughtfully poised novel from the POV of a 10 year old girl. I wasn't expecting the author's ability to really describe and give experiences from a child's eye and mind but the perspective and storyline captures your attention almost immediately and then proceeds to tug at your heart all the way to the end.
  • Kathy (southern ME)
    Unique Debut Novel
    I don't typically like the fiction trope of a child and elderly person becoming friends - it is often handled in a manner that makes for saccharine reading. However, Emily Spurr has disabused me of that notion with two perfectly spirited but cantankerous characters, Rae and Lettie.

    Rae is a ten year old and the narrator of this novel. While she doesn't always sound/act exactly like a ten year old, she is generally "believable" as a child who is being forced to grow up too quickly. It took me a beat to realize that when she is talking in second person, she is talking to her dead parent. For much of the book, I thought this deceased character was her father; without the 3rd person gender signifiers like he/her, I just assumed for no reason it was her father until something clued me in (much further in the book) that it was her mom (the book synopsis does refer to her mom but I try not to reread those when I start a book because I don't like even small spoilers). I wish this element of the novel had been expressed more clearly.

    The book is atmospheric, which helps in the early chapters when Rae has almost no interactions outside of those with her dog, Splints. The pacing is still a bit slow at first, but I was captivated once Lettie and Rae begin communicating in earnest. They have a unique relationship, and each is independent and hiding the dark parts of themselves. While both receive help and help each other in some ways, this isn't a simple story of friends saving each other. Overall, this is a fantastic debut novel and I look forward to more books by Spurr.

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