The Question of Miracles is Elana K. Arnold's first middle grade novel and I was absolutely blown away by it. This novel explores the question of loss in a way that kids (and adults) will easily relate to.
Iris and her parents have moved to Oregon where it seems to rain all the time. In addition to disliking the dreary weather, Iris doesn't yet have any friends in her new home.
Then she meets Boris, a boy in her class that is also in need of some friends. Despite Boris' annoying habits, the two become friends.
During all of this Iris is dealing with the death of her best friend, Sarah. Arnold creates a little suspense as the reason for Sarah's death isn't initially revealed. But most important, she allows Iris to explore the question of miracles. Boris survived what was to have been a fatal birth defect; his life is a miracle. Yet, Sarah died, and Iris struggles to understand why she didn't receive a miracle.
These are complex thoughts - ones that adults question as well, and Arnold does an amazing job of answering this question and allowing Iris to find some happiness without her best friend.
I'd love to press this book into my tween daughters' hands along with my upper elementary students and teachers. The Question of Miracles is an amazing book.