The Science of Breakable Things

The Science of Breakable Things

How do you grow a miracle? For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has...

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Title:The Science of Breakable Things
Author:Tae Keller
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Edition Language:English

The Science of Breakable Things Reviews

  • Wendy MacKnight

    What a beautiful, wonderful book! The impact of depression is dealt with in a wonderfully accessible way, and Keller does an amazing job of letting us walk in Natalie’s shoes. Add in a caring teacher, two lovable best friends, and #science project, this is a not-to-be missed book!

  • Jen Petro-Roy

    What a lovely book about coping with the unknown, challenging family circumstances, friendship, and hope. This is Tae Keller's debut novel, and I can't wait to read what she writes next.

  • Melissa

    In Tae Keller’s heartwarming yet humorous middle-grade novel, THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS, we meet Natalie Napoli, a seventh grader whose botanist mom is suffering from depression. The only way to get her out of her funk, Natalie believes, is to take her mom to New Mexico to pluck the magical Cobalt Blue Orchid—a flower that Natalie hopes will bring her mom back to life. Using the scientific method—and with some help from her best friend, Twig, and their lab-partner Dari—Natalie learns that

    In Tae Keller’s heartwarming yet humorous middle-grade novel, THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS, we meet Natalie Napoli, a seventh grader whose botanist mom is suffering from depression. The only way to get her out of her funk, Natalie believes, is to take her mom to New Mexico to pluck the magical Cobalt Blue Orchid—a flower that Natalie hopes will bring her mom back to life. Using the scientific method—and with some help from her best friend, Twig, and their lab-partner Dari—Natalie learns that miracles can and do happen. It just takes patience, and faith in the impossible. A stunning debut. Highly and enthusiastically recommended!

  • K.A.

    This book was so touching and wonderful. I teared up! Full of STEM geek love, bubbling with emotion, fun, sass, great friends, family problems, friendship break-ups and make-ups, real 7th grade problems I recall all too well! And a real look at parental depression. Highly recommend this one. <3 <3

  • Kate Olson

    Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing a copy of this book with @kidlitexchange for review! All opinions are my own.

    YAY for girls + SCIENCE!!! My 6th grade daughter is majorly into science and it is SO hard to find books for her that fit this interest area, so I was ecstatic to start reading this and realize just HOW science-y it is! The entire story is based on the scientific method and the science projects of Natalie and her friends, along with a storyline about Natalie's botanist moth

    Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing a copy of this book with @kidlitexchange for review! All opinions are my own.

    YAY for girls + SCIENCE!!! My 6th grade daughter is majorly into science and it is SO hard to find books for her that fit this interest area, so I was ecstatic to start reading this and realize just HOW science-y it is! The entire story is based on the scientific method and the science projects of Natalie and her friends, along with a storyline about Natalie's botanist mother and her research. SCIENCE HEAVEN! However, this isn't JUST for science fans. There are excellent storylines about Natalie's changing friendships in middle school and her mother's depression, along with her relationship with her father and feelings about counseling and middle school in general.

    Required purchase for middle school libraries and highly recommended for grades 5-8. I am purchasing a copy for my library and have already pre-ordered a copy for my daughter.

  • Brad McLelland

    This novel is, in a word, FANTASTIC. Tae Keller's grasp of her MC Natalie's emotional arc is extremely well-tuned, giving us moments of such depth that I literally found myself in awe at some passages. Natalie is so very human as she tries to understand her mother's depression, sometimes getting it right, sometimes completely misunderstanding a situation, and I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed for Natalie, her family, and their entire struggle. But the book also gives tremendous moments of ligh

    This novel is, in a word, FANTASTIC. Tae Keller's grasp of her MC Natalie's emotional arc is extremely well-tuned, giving us moments of such depth that I literally found myself in awe at some passages. Natalie is so very human as she tries to understand her mother's depression, sometimes getting it right, sometimes completely misunderstanding a situation, and I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed for Natalie, her family, and their entire struggle. But the book also gives tremendous moments of light and laughter. I THOROUGHLY loved Natalie's friends -- particularly Twig, who injects the novel with pure delight and hilarity. And the science experiment embedded as the framing device for the book works so perfectly to help Natalie plumb the depths of her own emotions.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who might have a child trying to understand his or her place in the family, and who particularly might be struggling to grasp the nuances of depression and loneliness.

    I read an advance copy of this book.

  • Laura Gardner

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 for THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS by @tae_keller

    Thx to @theloudlibrarylady for sharing this ARC with me and @kidlitexchange (#partner). This book came out last Tuesday, March 6. All opinions are my own.

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    I simply love this raw, unflinching look at how depression affects the whole family. Parents are not perfect and we need more books that reflect that reality. Natalie is my favorite kind of middle grade character—honest about her struggles and so r

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS by @tae_keller

    Thx to @theloudlibrarylady for sharing this ARC with me and @kidlitexchange (#partner). This book came out last Tuesday, March 6. All opinions are my own.

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    Swipe for the back!

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    I simply love this raw, unflinching look at how depression affects the whole family. Parents are not perfect and we need more books that reflect that reality. Natalie is my favorite kind of middle grade character—honest about her struggles and so real in her every day life moments. Natalie’s quirky best friend Twig (short for Twiggy, but don’t call her that) is fabulous and wonderfully loyal. I liked the main storyline of Natalie’s mom’s depression, the secondary plot of the egg drop experiment, but also the tertiary plot about Natalie trying to get better in touch with her Korean heritage. The format of a science journal for a book is pretty cool, too (the book is formatted based on the scientific method). This book felt complete with all the characters fully developed. Must-buy for all elementary and middle school classrooms and libraries! This one will be a hit.

  • Kathy Martin

    Twelve-year-old Natalie is having a bad year. Her mom seldom leaves her room and seems to have turned into not-Mom. She is worried about her botanist mother and a little angry at her too. Luckily, she has the support of her best friend Twig who keeps school interesting with her big personality. She also has a new friend in Dari who is here from India with his parents.

    Natalie has a plan to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids that she has been studying. They are unique plants that can s

    Twelve-year-old Natalie is having a bad year. Her mom seldom leaves her room and seems to have turned into not-Mom. She is worried about her botanist mother and a little angry at her too. Luckily, she has the support of her best friend Twig who keeps school interesting with her big personality. She also has a new friend in Dari who is here from India with his parents.

    Natalie has a plan to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids that she has been studying. They are unique plants that can suck up toxins in the soil and become a beautiful blue color. She is hoping that seeing the flower she loves will make her mother feel better and reconnect to life. But she needs money which is where the Egg Drop contest comes in. First Place has a $500 prize.

    Natalie, Twig and Dari spend most of the school year working on their contraption to keep their egg from breaking. This egg drop project is what they will all be using for their year-long science project on the scientific method. Twig and Dari have come up with big questions that their research will answer but Natalie's question takes a while to develop.

    Natalie has quite a year of growth and change. Since the story is told from Natalie's point of view, I was left with a number of questions. It didn't appear that her mother was receiving any kind of treatment for her depression despite the fact that her father is a therapist. It also looked to me that the changes in Natalie, i.e. daydreaming, lack of interest in school work, and failure to complete assignments, were being ignored by the school. It felt like Natalie was being left to cope on her own both at home and at school.

    This was an interesting story about a child dealing with a parent's mental illness which was well-written and thought-provoking.

  • Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by publisher through Follett's First Look Program

    Natalie is dealing with a lot-- her best friend, Mikayla, no longer talks to her; she likes her teacher Mr. Neely but is occasionally overwhelmed by his enthusiasm; and her mother is so depressed that she doesn't get out of bed most days. Natalie knows this is because her mother was fired from her job at the university botany department by Mikayla's mother, but she wishes that she had her "old" mother back. When Mr. Neely suggests tha

    ARC provided by publisher through Follett's First Look Program

    Natalie is dealing with a lot-- her best friend, Mikayla, no longer talks to her; she likes her teacher Mr. Neely but is occasionally overwhelmed by his enthusiasm; and her mother is so depressed that she doesn't get out of bed most days. Natalie knows this is because her mother was fired from her job at the university botany department by Mikayla's mother, but she wishes that she had her "old" mother back. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter the Egg Drop competition for her science inquiry project, Natalie doesn't really want to, but thinks that she could use the prize money to cheer her mother up by taking her to Mexico to see the rare Cobalt Blue orchid that she was studying. Natalie works with her best friend, Twig, whose mother was a super model and doesn't always see eye to eye with her daughter, and eventually the two work with Dari, a fairly new student as well. Dari is very smart, but is having trouble making friends. The group tries many different ways to cushion their eggs for the drop (my favorite is using marshmallows and chocolate for the S'megg! If only they had incorporated a graham cracker box!). They sneak into the school to practice dropping the egg from a height, and their stealth tactics come in handy later in the book. Natalie's father is a therapist who makes Natalie see Dr. Doris to talk, and eventually things come to a head and her mother also must be brought into the conversation.

    Strengths: The situation with Mikayla is SO true to life. Very strange things happen with middle school friendships, and the reasons aren't always clear. There is a good mix of home and school life that I wish I would see in more books. Natalie's ethnic heritage is interesting-- her father is half Italian and half Korean (but not being interested in anything Korean), and her mother is described as having blonde hair. There's a lot of support for Natalie all around, even though it isn't always effective. There are enough other things going on in the story to make the book interesting. Love the cover.

    Weaknesses: I have come to the conclusion that I am the only person involved in #MGLit who is tired of all of the depressing stories. Everyone else (including Kate DiCamillo and Matt de la Pena) and is coming out with articles about why Sad Is Good. Fine. It must some horrible, Trump-induced Zeitgeist. I don't get it, but I have given up complaining. All I know is that sad books make me sad, and I don't need any help in that direction. I think a much better plan, when bad things happen, is to ignore them and move on. NO ONE agrees.

    What I really think: I will probably purchase. The cover is appealing, the length is right, and it's less depressing than a lot of books.

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