Jul 24, 2013

Review: Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy

Title: Imperfect Spiral
Author: Debbie Levy
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: 7.16.2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Danielle Snyder's summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she's watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented alien, outsiders use the accident to further a politically charged immigration debate. Wanting only to mourn Humphrey, the sweet kid she had a surprisingly strong friendship with, Danielle tries to avoid the world around her. Through a new relationship with Justin, a boy she meets at the park, she begins to work through her grief, but as details of the accident emerge, much is not as it seems. It's time for Danielle to face reality, but when the truth brings so much pain, can she find a way to do right by Humphrey's memory and forgive herself for his death?

Heartbreaking, poignant, and utterly sweet, Imperfect Spiral is a quiet book that showcases the subtle awesomeness of debut author Debbie Levy. I was hooked from beginning to end as I wandered down the path with Danielle as she struggled to grow up and find herself in the face of an unthinkable tragedy and the fallout that resulted.

As someone who frequently babysat neighborhood kids growing up, what happens to Danielle is easily worst-case scenario. I think that’s why I was able to so quickly identify with her—what she went through is something I could have easily experienced. There was something so beautifully raw and exposed about the way Levy writes Danielle in the beginning stages of the book, which picks up after the accident. There’s a numbness and confusion that is so heartbreaking and made me want to protect this fictional girl that could have been my best friend growing up.

The added layer of dealing with illegal immigration was something I was admittedly worried about. Thankfully I never once felt like Levy was preaching in support of one side or the other. But she also did a phenomenal job of showing that there is more than one side to every story. Imperfect Spiral is a book that made me think and really evaluate some of my beliefs.

Yes, Imperfect Spiral is an emotion book. I was exhausted by the end of it because it’s very heavy, but I also feel like it’s an extremely important book. There’s a lot going on—the accident, illegal aliens, romance, coming of age … Maybe, at times, there was even a little too much going on, but I can honestly say this is a book I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. It’s a discussion sparking book that I will love sharing with friends. As soon as I finished this book, I immediately passed it on. Get your own copy and be ready to share.


  1. I'm so scared to read this one Hannah! My biggest fear when I was younger and did a lot of babysitting was something happening to one of the kids in my care (as it likely is for anyone who babysits). I would always check on them 139458209348 times when they went to bed to make sure they were still breathing. I couldn't help it! I so feel for Danielle, and I just want to reach out and hug her. I think I'll need to be in the mood for such an emotional read, but knowing you loved it makes me want to pick it up:)

    1. Right?! Babysitting is one of the most stressful jobs ever.

  2. Okay, even though this is one that I probably won't read because I'm shallow and don't usually pick up books that make me, yanno, *feel* stuff, it does sound amazing. I'll pass this review along to my librarian friend, who's always on the prowl for books like this for our high schoolers (who are drama incarnate and LOVE to read it!).

    1. That's OK, Mary! :) Thanks for passing the title along to your friend!

  3. OMG this book sounds so good! I had not heard of it before and I am not sure how I missed this one, Hannah, but it totally sounds like a contemporary I would enjoy so I am adding this to my wishlist STAT.

    1. It shocked me by how good it was, Kara! I think you'll really enjoy it!

  4. This sounds like a book you need to read with a box of tissues!


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