bookheadercourage

This was a very sweet middle grade novel for kids and although I had a few quibbles, it was an interesting read overall. This story is based around 12-year-old Mysti Murphy. Her father is taken to the hospital after an injury and Mysti, her sister and their agoraphobic mother are left to fend for themselves. I haven’t seen many books with an agoraphobic character, so I loved that mental illness is dealt with in this novel. I wish I had been able to review this novel during Mental Health Awareness month in June but alas, it was not to be.

Mysti agrees to be part of a “social experiment” with her best friend Annibal, in which he tries to attain popularity. To do this, he plans on ignoring Mysti (because she isn’t cool), changing his look and hanging out with the popular kids. I really didn’t like Annibal; he was really awful to Mysti while the “experiment” was going on and I didn’t understand why Mysti continued to be humiliated by Annibal at school and be okay with it. I understand that she knows it is just an experiment, but there are some points that friendship just can’t cross. Humiliating and bullying your best-friend in front of the entire seventh grade is one of those lines.

One thing I loved about this novel, however, is that friendship did win out in the end. Mysti has to make new friends and Annibal…well, no spoilers.

Mysti herself is a well-written character (pun not intended). She sometimes imagines herself as a character in a story and what her life would look like if it were a novel. Some scenes begin with phrases from Mysti in this style (like this: here is a girl who should be packing for camp next week but is instead drafting a blog post). I really enjoyed this style of narration and it definitely made this novel stand-out among all the other MG novels on my shelf calling for attention!

Isn’t that GIF the best? Anyways, I did enjoy this book. My main problem was with the relationship with Annibal and Mysti but otherwise, this was a good novel. The ending was fabulous because even since it didn’t end 100% Happily Ever After, it will be relatable to middle school readers. 3 stars goes to Courage for Beginners!

 

18 Comments on {Review} Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

    • Samantha
      July 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm (3 years ago)

      Yep! MG is a really great audience to write for, I think.

      Reply
  1. Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination
    July 20, 2014 at 1:55 am (3 years ago)

    The cover of Courage for Beginners is gorgeous; it just makes me want to read it without even knowing what the story is about. I love MG and I think this is one that I might try because I love stories about friendship. Oddly enough, I just read a book called Popular, which is Maya Van Wagenen’s memoir. She did a popularity experiment too, but she wasn’t mean to her friends because of it.

    Reply
    • Samantha
      July 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm (3 years ago)

      I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Popular; I really want to read it!

      Reply
  2. Greg Pattridge
    July 21, 2014 at 11:39 am (3 years ago)

    Welcome to MMGM and thanks for featuring this MG novel that now I’d like to read because of your review. Another recent release that deals with mental illness in a unique way is CHASING THE MILKY WAY. You might enjoy that one, too.

    Reply
    • Samantha
      July 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm (3 years ago)

      I’ll have to look it up!

      Reply
    • Samantha
      July 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm (3 years ago)

      I am definitely going to look that to! The title is very intriguing

      Reply
  3. Deb @ Read Write Tell
    July 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm (3 years ago)

    Welcome to MMGM. Will add this one to my (now getting ridiculously long) TBR on Goodreads. Really, really like the sound of it and it also seems like one one many kids can relate too. Thanks for sharing it!

    Reply
    • Samantha
      July 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm (3 years ago)

      I hope you check it out!

      Reply
  4. Reader Noir
    July 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm (3 years ago)

    Welcome to MMGM!
    Great review! I completely agree with you on the Mysti Anibal situation.
    Reader Noir recently posted…MMGM: CoralineMy Profile

    Reply
    • Samantha
      July 21, 2014 at 10:09 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m glad you agree. It’s quite irritating.

      Reply
  5. Jenni Enzor
    July 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm (3 years ago)

    The cover is beautiful–and I also love the premise of her thinking of herself as a character in a book. Thanks for the thoughtful review–and welcome to MMGM!
    Jenni Enzor recently posted…MMGM: The Junction of Sunshine and LuckyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Samantha
      July 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks! The whole character-in-a-book thing was quite interesting.

      Reply
  6. Karen Harrington
    July 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Stopping by to say thanks for the kind review. Love your blog, too!

    Reply
    • Samantha
      July 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Karen! Your book is lovely. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Monica
    December 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm (2 years ago)

    I loved the characters in this book! So well written and funny.
    Monica recently posted…Courage for BeginnersMy Profile

    Reply
    • Samantha
      December 25, 2014 at 10:33 pm (2 years ago)

      I totally agree! I’m going to pop over and check out your review right now!

      Reply

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