IMPERFECT SPIRAL tells the story of Danielle Snyder, who is babysitting five-year-old Humphrey for the summer. Like any babysitter, Danielle draws with Humphrey, takes him to the park and passes the football to him. Even though Humphrey is only five, he has almost thrown the perfect spiral…Until the inevitable happens. While walking home from the park with Danielle, Humphrey is hit by a car and is killed.
"Debbie Levy combines tragedy and humor in this realistic fiction novel that deals with problems prevalent in society today...readers who enjoy realistic fiction will find themselves engrossed in this novel."
Now filled with insurmountable guilt, all Danielle wants to do is mourn Humphrey, the little boy obsessed with throwing the perfect spiral. But members of their community are using Humphrey’s death for their own purposes. With the debates about streetlights, sidewalks and the identity of the driver that hit Humphrey being the talk of the town, Danielle needs an escape. She finds that with Justin, a boy who wants to make the world a better place by finding a way to stop toxic substances from getting into our water and food. Slowly, with the help of her friends, Danielle begins her journey of letting go of the guilt she feels and gaining the courage to honor Humphrey as the boy she knew.
Debbie Levy combines tragedy and humor in this realistic fiction novel that deals with problems prevalent in society today. This story begins after the accident, with a guilt-ridden Danielle still unable to believe what happened. Through Danielle’s flashbacks, the reader gets to know Humphrey and the relationship she had with him. Although Danielle seemed very grown-up for her age, she was a realistic protagonist. But Humphrey seemed to be the most likeable character. Even though we only meet him in flashbacks, Humphrey seemed like the little kid that everyone adores. He was unique and funny; readers will understand the heartbreak the characters feel over losing him.
IMPERFECT SPIRAL is not just about Humphrey’s death. This young adult novel also confronts the issue of illegal immigration. Debbie Levy uses her writing to bring this problem to readers’ attention. By giving IMPERFECT SPIRAL even more meaning to its readers, this novel just keeps getting better. By the end of IMPERFECT SPIRAL, Danielle has begun to relieve herself of her enormous guilt and gain the courage to speak up for her friends and Humphrey. Although IMPERFECT SPIRAL may seem a bit slow paced for some, readers who enjoy realistic fiction will find themselves engrossed in this novel.
Reviewed by Kate F. on August 15, 2013