Natalie's uplifting story of using the scientific process to "save" her mother from depression is what Booklist calls "a winning story full of heart and action."
Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
When Natalie's science teacher suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie thinks that this might be the perfect solution to all of her problems. There's prize money, and if she and her friends wins, then she can fly her botanist mother to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchidsflowers that survive against impossible odds. Natalie's mother has been suffering from depression, and Natalie is sure that the flowers' magic will inspire her mom to love life again. Which means it's time for Natalie's friends to step up and show her that talking about a problem is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. With their help, Natalie begins an uplifting journey to discover the science of hope, love, and miracles.
A vibrant, loving debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too. Think THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH meets THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR * KIRKUS REVIEWS * THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY *
"Natalie's Korean heritage is sensitively explored, as is the central issue of depression."
"A compassionate glimpse of mental illness accessible to a broad audience."
Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"Holy moly!!! This book made me feel."
Colby Sharp, editor of The Creativity Project, teacher, and cofounder of Nerdy Book Club
About the Author
TAE KELLER grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she wrote stories, ate spam musubis, and participated in her school's egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates. Visit her at TaeKeller.com, follow her on Twitter at @TaeKeller, and be sure to join her newsletter bit.ly/taekellernews.
Read an Excerpt
Mr. Neely just wrote our first lab book assignment on the board in his scrunched- up, scratchy handwriting, and he’s getting all excited about this scientific process stuff. I’m not sure why he feels the need to use hashtags and spell perfectly innocent words with a z, but he’s one of those teachers you don’t bother questioning.
Excerpted from "The Science of Breakable Things"
Copyright © 2018 Tae Keller.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Science of Breakable Things is a debut middle grade novel by Hawaii-born Tae Keller. It’s a great read for tweens and those young at heart. Told through Natalie’s eyes and her science journal, we see how her mother’s depression affects Natalie from her friendships and family relationships to her own self-image to how she explains the world around her. Tae nails the transition from childhood to teenager. The friendships and conflicts ring true. One of the best parts was the magical thinking of how a rare blue orchid would cure her mother; if Natalie could just get one, everything would go back to normal. It’s a touching, endearing, and completely captivating examination of how a child centers the world on herself and how she grows to understand that not only are things not her fault, they’re also not in her power to fix. With a very light touch, Tae also explores mixed racial heritage challenges and conflicts. Natalie is part-Korean. Generational biases are brought to the forefront as her father tries to nullify his Korean-ness as Natalie tries to embrace it through connecting with her Korean grandmother. It’s one of the smallest and most powerful ways Natalie asserts her own identity. Can’t wait to read her next work.
Thank you to Tae Keller for providing an ARC to #collabookation. This book, about a seventh grader's struggle to understand and get through her mother's depression, tugs at the heart. Fortunately, Natalie has school to distract her. Her science teacher is working to hone observation skills and scientific exploration, and soon Natalie has a purpose, and friends who want to work to help her achieve it. I love the author's use of footnotes throughout. Taking part in Natalie's search to understand and fix her mom's depression is heartbreaking at times. Luckily, the book is lightened up by her wonderful father and terrific friends. This realistic look at mental illness could go far in comforting students who know someone going through depression.