Book: Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz
Published October 2018 by Starscape Books|288 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
An uplifting middle-grade debut about perseverance against all odds, Marie Miranda Cruz’s debut Everlasting Nora follows the story of a young girl living in the real-life shanty town inside the Philippines’ North Manila Cemetery.
After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.
When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.
With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.
I liked Everlasting Nora! I really felt for Nora, and she has a lot to deal with. There’s something very hopeful about this book, and I definitely finished the book feeling like everything was going to work out for Nora and her mom.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a shany town set up in a cemetery. Even though everyone seems to be living where they have family members buried, I wonder if that’s the case for everyone, and how it works if it’s not a family member and their family comes to visit?
We do see in one or two scenes where they have to move so that they’re not seen at a funeral service. Granted, it was at a different cemetery than the one Nora lives at but it still highlighted things that Nora possibly had to deal with. That was an interesting detail, and it made the book seem more real somehow.
She has to rely on others when her mom disappears in order to pay off her gambling debts. Nora has to help out too, and I felt so sad that she had to leave school when her father died, and they ran out of the money they had after his death.
We see the difference between having money and having nothing and needing to help out by working in order to survive. It’s not a new concept for middle grade or YA, but I liked the setting of living in a graveyard. It showed that life is different in other countries, and that everyone is going through something.
I’m glad things got better for Nora, and I hope things continue to work out for Nora and her mom.
3 stars. I wish I had more to say about Everlasting Nora, but it don’t. It’s pretty hopeful, and I definitely recommend it.