- US Edition
The Science of Breakable Things
With themes of pre-teen friendship, loss and depression (and botany!), this hooky debut is both fun, poignant - and hopeful.
When Natalie Napoli’s hashtag-abusing teacher insists science is the key to life, she deems him crazy. How can science save her family now that her mother – a botanist who had such a passion for plants and for life – can’t even get out of bed in the morning? Now that everything in their beloved greenhouse is dead, even the rare orchid with extraordinary properties which her mom had been studying before she gave up trying. Not even Natalie’s therapist dad can help, so how is a year-long science project and a bunch of magnets and pendulums going to make everything right for Natalie and bring her mom back?
But then Natalie hears about a city-wide egg-drop competition with a big money prize. And she has an idea. If she can win the competition, maybe she can take her mom to New Mexico – to a place where a field of blue orchids will recapture the resilience, the wonder, and the magic of everything that made life good.
As Natalie embarks on a quest to understand the scientific method – and what is really going on in her family – she not only begins to delve into her biracial identity and evolving friendships, but also faces the biggest scientific experiment of her life. Can she create the perfect egg armor and win the prize that might just save her mother?
World English Language: Random House (Spring 2018)
Audio USA: Listening Library
Germany: Fischer Verlag
Brazil: Morro Bronco
China: Love Reading
B&N Blog: 7 books for fans of THE THING ABOUT JELLY FISH
Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books 2018
Kirkus Best Middle Grade Books of 2018
Kirkus Reviews’ 8 Books for Mother’s Day
International Literacy Association Round-up of Noteworthy Debut Authors
Kirkus’s round-up of 12 Excellent Children’s Books With Diversity in Mind
Five Middle Grade Novels We’re Excited about – B&N
2018 Middle Grade Books to Have on Your Radar
Selected by Teen Librarian Toolbox (School Library Journal)
Starred review from Kirkus
“A compassionate glimpse of mental illness accessible to a broad audience.”
Starred review from Booklist
“Keller’s layered, accessible story offers beautifully crafted metaphors, a theme of mending old friendships and creating new ones, and an empowering teacher to a variety of readers. A moving story about fragility and rebirth.”
Tae (pronounced Tay) Keller grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii (where she danced hula for eight years), and graduated in English with a major in Creative Writing from Bryn Mawr College, where she won the M. Carey Thomas Prize – the highest award given for distinction in writing.
THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS, her debut novel, was sold in a fierce bidding war and published with Random House in 2017.
Tae’s second novel, WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER, published in 2020 and (after gaining 5 starred reviews) won the Newbery Medal and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature at the American Library Association Awards in January 2021.
She lives in Seattle.