Monday, May 20, 2013

MMGM: A Week With Fiona Wonder by Kelly Huddleston

Caution: This book is actually YA. I believe depending on the upper middle grade reader, it could be appealing to them. This book deals frankly with real issues: single parenthood, healthcare, economics, class, etc. There is profanity, but it is not superfluous. 

Date Published: Feb 1, 2013

ISBN: 0615722822
Genre: Upper Middle Grade, contemporary fiction
Publisher: Open Books
Themes: friendship, family, home, cultural diversity, class, healthcare
Add it on: Goodreads Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords

About The Book: It is exactly one week until sixteen-year-old Mercy Swimmer is to play out a dream scenario: to spend an entire week with movie star Fiona Wonder, the prize awarded to the winner of a contest staged by a teen magazine.
Mercy is kind and compassionate and always tries to see the best in everybody, even when those around her do not respond similarly. For example, her mother’s snippy, hot-tempered friend Nikki is a kleptomaniac who constantly belittles her boyfriend. Her best friend Valerie has anger issues and a weight problem. Beautiful but cold Lady Redding, Valerie’s mother, feels entitled to everything even as others go without. And Mercy’s mother, a severe asthmatic who works two menial jobs in a “dead mall”, seems to care more about Fiona Wonder and Mercy’s upcoming week with her than the pressing issues in their own lives.
       Everything is on track for Mercy’s upcoming week with Fiona Wonder, but when her mother’s asthma flairs up, Mercy’s world turns upside down and she is faced with a decision that will ultimately challenge her own capacity for compassion.
        A Week with Fiona Wonder shines an intense light upon the dire consequences of social exclusivity and suggests the alternatives of inclusion, empathy and, indeed, mercy.

What Others Are Saying:  "An ageless lesson told in a wonderfully contemporary way. Highly recommend!"—Susie Duncan Sexton, author of Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl

"As the novel progresses and Mercy's frustrations with the people around her increase, however, another side of her character begins to emerge, one which surprises and disturbs her. She's sucked into new feelings of hurt, anger and vengeance, and before she knows it, it's too late - there can be no return to innocence. As Mercy herself tells us, 'No one knows what goes on inside a black hole unless you're actually in one, and if you're in one then you're already gone.' "  —Gregory Heath author of The Entire Animaland Thoughts of Maria

Some Blogger Reviews:Belle's Book Bonanza
Charles Ray's Ramblings
Minding Spot

What I Thought: Whenever I find a book with reviews across the board high and low, it almost always turns out there are many issues at play. And more often than not, I find myself drawn in with a desire to discern the writers intent, what is he/she really trying to say. That was the case with this book. 
     At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I'm going to  say, I get it. One of the biggest complaints about the book was that the title was misleading, the book addresses the week before the appointed movie star prize. Most Americans, especially teens, are caught up in the daily lives of celebrities. They focus on them, schedule their lives around their performances and clamor to read the latest gossip. The author is shinning a light on the underbelly of all that hero worship, the realities that face the majority of Americans. The 99%, struggling everyday to stay ahead of the bills, put food on the table and take care of their families. 
     The book follows Mercy, a fifteen year old who is faced with the daily tension of healthcare issues, poverty, prejudice and neglect. Each page is full of tension of her everyday life. Many reviewers said they found the book depressing, I see that. I saw something deeper, an amazing teenager dealing with adult issues, a young girl forced into adulthood and responsibility and then almost exploding under the pressure. You may not "like" the characters, their selfish self-preservation. There is no argument that they are real, complicated and all of them are scratching their way to survival in a world of high housing costs, skyrocketing tuition, low income, joblessness, lack of healthcare, etc. It becomes clear why the thought of a future and what that will look like is a luxury, only the rich can afford. 
    I applaud Huddleston for taking this head on. It is rare that anyone speaks honestly about the lives many of American teenagers face everyday of their lives. I thoroughly enjoyed the brash honesty, no punches were pulled here, characters difficult to like, let alone connect to. I believe this perspective is important to give voice to.

About The Author: Kelly Huddleston
Interview on Moronic Ox
Online Article Worth Reading

Kelly Huddleston is the author of the novels A WEEK WITH FIONA WONDER, ALONE IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS and THE PERFECT PEARL. Her work has been called original, accomplished and well-crafted.

Five Reasons I Wrote The Book- If you don't read anything else about the book, read this!

Next Week: Back to strictly fun with Cloneward Bound by M.E. Castle the second book in the Clone Chronicles.

Please stop by the other MMGM bloggers, you can find their links in my sidebar.


  1. This sounds interesting. I like the premise and the issues. I'm going to look for it.

  2. It looks like there is a lot going on in this book -- just like in real life. I'll put this one on my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

  3. I think you're right -- certain MG readers could totally identify with Mercy.

  4. There are so many pertinent issues here of interest to teens and tweens. I am just wondering about the market being flooded with books on these issues


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