Word Spelunking

Imperfect Spiral - Debbie Levy Every once in awhile a book comes along that captures me so completely and moves me in such surprising ways. A book that still hasn't left my thoughts even days or weeks after it's been read. Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy is one of those books. This isn't a perfect book (do those even exist?!), but I love it for everything it is and everything it isn't.Fourteen year old Danielle Snyder spends the summer before high school as a babysitter for five year old Humphrey. Danielle and Humphrey make a splendid pair with their oddball personalities and out of the box thinking. And when Humphrey is tragically killed by an illegal immigrant Danielle finds herself in the middle of a battle and campaign she wants no part of; she merely wants to mourn the little boy she's come to love.Imperfect Spiral is a beautiful and authentic story about unlikely love and friendship, family, compassion, and standing up for what you believe in. Highly relevant, rich in tangible emotion, and possessing two of the best written characters I've met in a long time, this is an utterly addicting story.Levy weaves several heavy themes and topics throughout Imperfect Spiral- grief, guilt, tolerance, illegal/legal immigration- and she does so with such thought-provoking honesty and authenticity, and without any sense of being preached at. The topic of immigration, both illegal and legal, plays an integral role in the story, and I appreciate the way that the author explores all sides of the argument and, instead of telling readers what they should think about the topic, she merely encourages thought and further exploration. But, the heart of this story lies with Danielle and Humphrey, the profound bond they forge, and Danielle's immense grief and guilt over his death. Humphrey's death isn't a plot tool simply used to create forced emotions and Danielle's grief isn't sensationalized; these things feel incredibly real, the affects they have are believable. Levy creates such a powerful and poignant look at grief and guilt, not in an in-your-face; overwrought; Lifetime movie kind of way, but with exquisite subtlety and quietness.What I love most about Imperfect Spiral is Danielle and Humphrey, both as individuals and as a charming pair. The genuine love and friendship between these two needs to be felt by readers in order for Danielle's grief and guilt to feel believable and real, and the love and friendship is definitely felt...I felt it with every piece of me! Danielle is the perfect mix of snarky, witty, and vulnerable, and Humphrey is the perfect mix of endearing, precocious, curious, and sweet...I'd be BFF's with Danielle and everyone needs a Humphrey in their lives. And as a pair, these two simply shine! They're both a little bit different, a little bit outcasts, a little bit perculiar (yes, I spelled that wrong for a reason...ya gotta read the book to find out why), and I've fallen completely in love with them! The bond between these two is developed so wonderfully and there are cute/silly/thoughtful moments between them that are crafted with such beauty that they literally took my breath away.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: This book introduced me to two of my newest favorite characters, left me thoughtful, and made me ugly cry...all signs of a truly great book! Danielle and Humphrey's story is an unforgettable and thought-provoking one that will move and inspire readers. A MUST read YA Contemp.

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