January 21th 2011
Macmillan Children's Books
Twelve-year-old Mira comes from a chaotic, artistic and outspoken family where it’s not always easy to be heard. As her beloved Nana Josie's health declines, Mira begins to discover the secrets of those around her, and also starts to keep some of her own. She is drawn to mysterious Jide, a boy who is clearly hiding a troubled past and has grown hardened layers - like those of an artichoke - around his heart. As Mira is experiencing grief for the first time, she is also discovering the wondrous and often mystical world around her. An incredibly insightful, honest novel exploring the delicate balance, and often injustice, of life and death - but at its heart is a celebration of friendship, culture - and life.
Artichoke Hearts is probably one of the sweetest books I've read for a while. It's full of love and family and learning more about who you are and all that, and it's just really sweet, gentle, even. It's told from Mira's POV, through a diary that this woman who runs a club she's in told them to write, and it spans the month of May, and you might think that it being told through a 12 year old would put you off, but she writes more maturely than her age, and it's really interesting.
The book, though, was a bit hard for me, personally to read. It wasn't the style of the writing or how it was told, it was just the subject of the book. It is ridiculous how much I can relate to Mira, because when I was 12, my nan died from cancer as well, and it was difficult to read, for me, but it didn't detract from the enjoyment. If anything, it helped me get over it a bit better... And me and Mira are pretty similar. She's a very relatable character. I was totally that girl in class who didn't put their hand up, or really did anything to get the teachers attention. I still am... ;)
And I cannot explain to you how much I love Nana Josie. She's just such an incredible person, so wonderful, and she doesn't let anything get her down. She doesn't let anyone put her down. She was a former hippy, heck, she painted her own darn coffin! She was just so brilliant.
The budding relationship between Mira and Jide was also ridiculously cute. I just want to squidge their cheeks and ruffle their hair... Aww, young love :3 I really liked Jide, too, always pretending like he didn't care about anything, but really he's just shy and likes to down-play his intelligence... And Millie and Ben were always there to lighten the mood too. Millie and Mira were such great friends, despite their dissimilar personalities.
Artichoke Hearts is a sweet, yet slightly sad, look at grief, first love, high school and family through a twelve year olds eyes, and is a really great book. 4 stars :D