Heartache and Loss Amid Wildfires
My newest favourite thing is a novel in verse. Until this year, I had never read one before and now I have four under my belt. The latest being Missing Mike by Shari Green, published by Pajama Press Inc. I LOVED it!
Missing Mike is a fabulous novel in verse set against of the wildfires that devastated Western Canada last summer. With another dry summer on the horizon, this story could be one faced by many again this summer. Cara lives in Pine Grove, a fictional town in Alberta, Canada. She lives with her parents, her older, teenage sister, and her loving dog Mike, named after Mike Wazowski, the one eyed monster. When the wildfires force Cara and her family to pack up and evacuate in under 10 minutes, Mike runs forcing Cara to leave him behind while the family travels to the city where it is safe.
There is so much going on in this story: the fear and sadness of the unknown, the heartache of missing/losing a pet, the separation between siblings as they grow into teenagers. While reading this story you will feel the fear, anxiety, and desperation Cara feels. Shari Green’s writing is so powerful you become a player in the story. You are living through the fear and sadness Cara and so many others are experiencing. You feel a sense of community with those who were evacuated and who lost most of their possessions. In the end you feel hopeful, for family, for rebuilding, for the future of the west. Shari Green not only puts so much raw emotion in all of her chapters, she also breaks up the heartache and sadness by tapping into Cara’s love of crosswords and sharing it with the readers through crossword clues and answers to help guide the reader through Cara’s journey. Missing Mike is an exploration in the meaning of home and the different ways we can define home.
One of the most wonderful things about a novel in verse is the ease through which the reader is guided through the story. Chapters are short, sometimes only a few words long since they are all poems. These verses combine into a beautiful story that flows from one moment to the next. Also, they are a quick read and kind of perfect for all the different types of readers you will encounter. Novels in verse a great for reluctant readers because they feel short and unintimidating. They are great for avid readers as a novel in verse offers a different perspective and a different type of reading journey from the standard prose. A novel in verse is fantastic for dormant readers (once avid readers who no longer read for pleasure) to offer a shake up and something to reinvigorate their reading.
Missing Mike is such a timely and beautiful novel and deserves a space on your library/classroom/home bookshelves.