Daisy Jacobs Saves the World is destined to become one of the best in its genre!
Three years ago, my then 7-year-old great-niece asked me to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. She loved the book and wanted to share it with me. It was excellent. I decided then to find a book just as remarkable as Wonder to give to Sophie. I found the perfect book in Gary Hindhaugh’s Daisy Jacobs Saves the World. (Link to Amazon.)
I ordered a paperback copy for Sophie and the ebook for myself. Today I finished the ebook and simply must shout it from the rooftop: Gary Hindhaugh wrote a stellar story!
Have you ever met a person and thought, I like them – I hope I get to see them again. And you do. You have another good time. In fact, you make plans to get together the next day, then the day after that. You look forward to seeing them. Eventually you become closer. You’re inseparable. And suddenly, you realize you’re in love.
That is what reading Daisy Jacobs Saves the World is like. You find yourself enjoying it from the get-go and are curious to learn more. Who is this Daisy? Who – what – is this Quark? Why do they fascinate you? It feels good to be with the story. You’re interested, you’re thinking about the story when you’re not reading it. You’re wondering what is going to happen next. You’re excited when you get to pick up and start reading again. Before the last page appears, you are deeply in love with Daisy’s – and even Quark’s – story.
What I Loved
The premise is marvelous, of course, but Hindhaugh chose NOT to do some of the sub-plots we might expect in a novel with a 14-year-old protagonist. For example, it’s absent of “mean girls.” Does that mean everyone is a Pollyanna and all teenage trouble and drama are absent? No! Hindhaugh was more creative in the anxiety inflicted on our poor Daisy. We feel it acutely, but not in the tired old tropes some stories slip into. Yes, teens are teens (bags of chemically-crazy hormones) the world over and even the “best” ones can be unpredictable and snarky. Yet, Hindhaugh doesn’t take this too far in the schoolyard. He knows how to offer enough to be believable, but pulls back so we remember that not all teens are the hellish stereotypes we accuse them of being.
Daisy’s worries scramble to a higher level. She’s faced with choices of, well, globally epic proportions. What would you do if you were the singular force stopping the annihilation of the entire planet? Would you have the courage of a 14-year-old girl? And could you do it with the thoughtfulness and selflessness of Daisy Jacobs? Few adults would have such bravery – and persistence.
Daisy isn’t without flaws, however. Quark is quick to point out Daisy’s uncharitable attitude with regards to a couple of her peers. And yet, we witness one of Daisy’s greatest powers when she interacts with her nemesis Quark: kindness.
We also see kindness coming from Daisy’s best friend Amy. What a willingness to love and forgive! What a testament to never give up hope! (Could there be a gentle lesson for us adults here?)
Another aspect I loved: the claustrophobia. Hindhaugh BRILLIANTLY brings the reader to feel Daisy’s “tiny room.” This is such a clever piece of the story. The reader learns Daisy’s imagination is great – clearly Hindhaugh’s is as well.
The ending is perfect.
Hindhaugh could not have brought the story to a close any better than he did. I found myself crying as I smiled and read the last character conversations… pictured what was being described, imagining the future. The goosebumps on my arms were real. The author hit all the marks.
Adults, read this book. Buy it for your tweens and teens to read. Discuss it with them! It’s destined to become one of the best in its genre.