The Meaning of Maggie – A Middle Grade Novel


I don’t finish a lot of novels written for middle grades.  Instead, I read a few chapters because I need to have knowledge of these books for work.  If I finish one, I know it is worth sharing on the blog.  I cried while reading The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern.

When the book arrived at the library, the cover intrigued me.  Once I read the synopsis of the book and learned the author lives in Atlanta I decided to take the book home.  I grew up outside of Atlanta; so in my mind this book was set there.  Maggie’s father has to quit his job at the airport due to an illness which starts with an M.  Maggie’s clueless about the name of his illness and the reality of it’s progression.  Her mom starts working to support the family at a fancy hotel.

I grew up outside of Atlanta.  In my mind, the hotel was either the Peachtree Plaza or the Hyatt Regency with the blue bubble.  I’m thinking it was the Hyatt Regency because the book mentions the atrium.  In my childhood, I was fortunate to have a Shirley Temple and lots of pretzels at the rotating bar inside this blue bubble.  Maggie’s family was not in a position where this was a reality.  When she visited the hotel with her mom, she ate in the employee cafeteria.

Enough of my reminiscing.  This book is both heart breaking and heart warming.  Maggie is a quirky young lady who is starting middle school.  She’s excited about turning eleven because it’s one year closer to college.  Plus she received her dream birthday present… Coca-cola stock.

My favorite quote from the book is on page twenty-four.  “I’d always thought all the answers to life’s questions were in books.  I’d thought knowing where the sidewalk ended and where the red fern grew and where the wild things were could help me figure out LIFE.”

It wasn’t until I read the Acknowledgements at the end of the book, I learned the book is a fictionalized account of her family’s experience.  For more information read The Story Behind The Story  on Megan Jean Sovern’s website.

ML’s not ready for this book yet.  But when she’s older, I plan for us to read it.