The Question of Miracles

Publication Date: February 3, 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Sixth-grader Iris Abernathy hates life in Corvallis, Oregon, where her family just moved. It’s always raining, and everything is so wet. Besides, nothing has felt right since Iris’s best friend, Sarah, died.

When Iris meets Boris, an awkward mouth-breather with a know-it-all personality, she’s not looking to make a new friend, but it beats eating lunch alone. Then she learns that Boris’s very existence is a medical mystery, maybe even a miracle, and Iris starts to wonder why some people get miracles and others don’t. And if one miracle is possible, can another one be too? Can she possibly communicate with Sarah again?

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  • School Library Journal Pick, 100 Magnificent Children’s Books, 2015

  • Finalist, Children’s Choice Book Awards, Debut Book of the Year, 2016

  • “It is [Iris’s] realistic relationship with the matter-of-fact Boris, a most unlikely miracle, that will catch readers, and help pull them toward seeking answers of their own for the story’s very large questions.” (Booklist, Starred review)

  • “Arnold’s heroine confronts her emotions honestly… and her slow, difficult journey to understand the absence left in Sarah’s wake unfolds with heartbreaking believability.” (Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review)

  • “In a third-person narrative that remains fully in Iris’s range of understanding, Arnold explores the range of sorrow, anger, and grief Iris undergoes. Her gentle explorations of faith, doubt, and making a friend while still keeping Sarah close leave a powerful impression.” (Shelf Awareness, Starred Review)

  • “Just as Iris finally embraces the rain, spinning round and round, readers, too, will recognize the circular patters of love and loss, joy and grief, life and death. A quiet, affecting journey rendered with keen insight.” (Kirkus)

  • “This is a realistic view of grief, with particular emphasis on the agonizing longing to know if a lost loved one is truly out there somewhere. Iris’s stay-at-home dad fills the story with great flavors and textures—from the baby chicks he hatches to his homemade bread—giving the story a cozy touch despite Iris’s impossible quest for answers.” (School Library Journal)