I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the How to Become a Planet by Nicole Melleby Blog Tour hosted by Algonquin Young Readers!
Check out my review below!
About the Book
For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.
A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.
Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.
She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.
Find it here:
Hurricane Season is one of my favorites so when I saw Nicole Melleby was releasing another Middle Grade centered around mental health awareness I knew I’d definitely be picking it up!
Summer has always been Pluto’s favorite. She spends her time between the boardwalk arcade, her moms pizzeria, and hanging out with her friend Meredith but this year it’s different. This year she’s struggled to get out of bed.
Pluto’s character is well developed and so real. I could feel her pain while reading this book. The depression keeps her in bed but the anxiety keeps her from experiencing all the things she used to love. The checklist she creates is supposed to help her face those fears but all it does is cause her to be more anxious. It’s like it gives her something to focus on but not always in a good way.
Throughout this book you’ll see how Pluto learns to manage her depression, makes a new friend, and works to redefine her relationship with her mom and dad. Pluto’s journey is one of self-discovery and finding your identity. It is well written, emotional, and beautiful all in one. Nicole is definitely one of my favorite middle grade authors and I will continue to read and support her books. I think they are important, especially for the young people struggling with mental illness themselves or understanding mental illness in someone else.
About the Author
Nicole Melleby, a born-and-bread Jersey girl, is an award winning children’s author. Her middle grade books have been Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections, recipient of the Skipping Stones Honor Award, and a 2020 Kirkus Reviews best book of the year. Her debut novel, Hurricane Season, was a Lambda Literary finalist. She lives with her wife and their cat, whose need for attention oddly aligns with Nicole’s writing schedule.