Title: Everlasting Nora
Author: Marie Miranda Cruz
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Trigger Warnings: violence, child abuse, classism, extreme poverty / hunger, kidnapping, descriptions of blood and other serious injuries
An uplifting young reader debut about perseverance against all odds, Marie Miranda Cruz’s debut Everlasting Nora follows the story of a young girl living in the real-life shantytown inside the Philippines’ Manila North Cemetery.
After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.
When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.
With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.
Don’t ever think that since this is a children’s book, the story would be light and fluffy. This pretty much is the opposite.
The story of Nora is such an emotional and inspiring one. She lives in a cemetery with her mother. Both are dealing with grief because of the death of her father. Her struggles only begins there as her mother is a gambler, and that means they’re losing more money instead of saving any.
For such a young age, Nora already experienced a lot of heartaches. Losing her father in a tragic fire incident was one thing, but having to stop going to school and doing other people’s laundry instead to help her mother earn money is one way of not having a proper childhood.
This book made me realize how we take little things for granted. Nora’s story is an eye-opener of what really happens in the slums. This will make you grateful and appreciative of your family, friends, home, and all other things that you have.
I recommend this book not only to middle-graders but especially to adults too. A moving, impactful, and inspirational read.
“It had been scary to live here at first, but Mama told me that the living would do us greater harm than the dead ever could.”
“Bahala na. Come what may. Live for the day.”
“Hunger and sickness made people want to do stupid things.”
“But then again, it might be a good reminder of what not to do for the sake of money, and how to never, ever again lose hope.”
Soundtrack: One Life by Boyce Avenue
Buy Links: Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository || National Bookstore (Philippines only)
About the Author:
Marie Miranda Cruz was born in the Philippines. She spent most of her formative years moving between her hometown, Cavite City, and several cities in the United States while her father served in the United States Navy. When her dad retired, she moved back to the Philippines where she completed both high school and college. The first holiday she experienced in the Philippines was All Saints Day. It was this experience that inspired her to write her first novel, Everlasting Nora.
Marie now lives in Los Angeles with her family and a tank of fighting fish. When she isn’t writing books for kids, she may be analyzing chromosomes in a genetics lab, reading a good book, or knitting ponchos and fingerless gloves.
She is represented by Paula Munier, Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC.