Book Review: How To Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson

 "Everyone always leaves me but I dont forget them. I thought I had, but I hadn't. You don't ever forget what people are. What they meant to you. And you made me remember that. Them. Everything. You made me want to remember. You made it not hurt."

--Daisy May Johnson, How To Be Brave

How to Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson is a charmingly outrageous yet endearing middle-grade book about a little girl who teams up with her boarding school friends to find her missing mother. This is a raucous celebration of the power of resourceful girls, storytelling, and the right biscuit at the right moment, and it is heartwarming and audaciously humorous.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Calla North and her mother Elizabeth live a quiet but happy life together. Elizabeth happens to be the world's leading expert on ducks—but unfortunately, being an expert on ducks doesn't always pay the bills (no pun intended).

When Elizabeth is offered a well-paid research trip to the Amazon, it's an opportunity too good to miss. But while her mother’s off exploring, Calla winds up at boarding school. No adventures are likely to find her there—or so she thinks.

Then Calla receives the terrible news that her mother's plane has gone missing. Can Calla, her friends, and a motley crew of nuns defeat an evil new headmistress and find Elizabeth before it’s too late?

My reaction to this novel...

Actually, I have no idea why I chose to read this book while being aware that it is intended for readers in the middle grades. I've never read anything by Daisy May Johnson before, so I'm not expecting much. I just wanted to read a light novel, and when I saw the cover of the book, I knew I'd love it, and it didn't disappoint me in the least. 

It seemed a little strange at first to read about ducks. Even I don't know much about ducks. All I know about them is that they are ducks, but I have no knowledge of any of their subspecies. Because I'm not interested in ducks, I had planned to skip a few chapters, but as I've read every page of this book, the plot has grown more captivating. I am unable to stop reading. The author's writing style is quite straightforward but entertaining. I appreciated the fact that I had the impression I was inside the boarding school seeing the girls' uprising while reading a novel similar to "The Series of Unfortunate Events." The novel has a uniquely British mood and sense of humor, which I appreciate. I particularly enjoy how the book uses footnotes; I think this would be a good method to teach footnotes to young readers. Strong themes of good against evil permeate the narrative. The short chapters were another thing I adored, and I think young readers will too.

There were a lot of characters in this novel, but I liked how each one was distinct and brought something fresh to the narrative. Edie, though, was my favorite of the bunch. She was my favorite character of the entire novel since she was humorous and magnificent in her rise. She deserves to be acknowledged since, in my perspective, she kept everything together and, just when I was beginning to get a little weary, she made it so much more enjoyable.

Daisy May Johnson's distinctive writing style and distinctive writerly voice are what set the narrative apart from the others. The conversational style gives you the impression that the author is giving you a tale that she herself has been told while you are sitting next to her. A debut that is both well-written and engaging. 

Ultimately, this novel is uplifting and fast-paced, full of endearing characters and outrageous escapades. Those who enjoyed and are seeking for another interesting boarding school adventure will appreciate this novel.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

"Sometimes our happiest moments come before our sadness."

I concur with this quote. You won't necessarily feel depressed every day, in my opinion. Usually, God will bring you someone or something to brighten your spirits after such grief, even if you think it is unavoidable. The proverbial "rainbow after the rain" refers to this phenomenon for a reason.

"When you do not have many people in the world that you love, you take a lot of care of the ones that you have."

We constantly hear this statement. The people we love are important to us. When everyone around us seems frightening and we only have a small group of people we love and trust, we should treat those people very well because we care about them. Despite the factors that seem to make us leavable, they are worthwhile since they stayed with us. 

"Everybody is extraordinary. We all burn for potential, and to seek for the normal in the world is to limit yourself."

We all have potential. It doesn't always follow that we aren't at all gifted just because we see someone who makes us feel that way. We're all unique from one another. We could have something that others do not. Only we have the power to unlock our potential. Giving up is neither a response nor a solution to a problem we do not comprehend. We need to develop our talents and knowledge in order to find what is within us.


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.