DRIVE-THRU MIRACLE by Dana Edwards, Ph.D
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction
PUBLISHER: B&H Kids
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2022
Eleven-year-old Mae Moore is having a horrible birthday week. Her sister, Shelby, had another seizure on account of her cerebral palsy. The school bully won’t leave Mae alone. The adults in her life are having money troubles. And then there’s her secret—the terrible wish Mae made two years ago—that she can’t seem to shake.
Mae needs a miracle, or maybe multiple. But why would God bother to listen to her prayers? Especially when it seems He hasn’t listened in the past? Still, when Mae discovers that one of her closest friends also needs divine intervention, Mae just might step into that miraculous life she’s been longing for after all.
With plenty of adventure and humor to keep readers turning the page, Drive-Thru Miracle is a contemporary middle grade novel that confronts the honest—and sometimes difficult—truths about life with spunk and sincerity. Not shying away from hard topics like disability, bullying, and poverty, author Dana Edwards weaves Mae’s story with empathy and hope, showing readers that the God of miracles is still working in this world, even if we can’t see it.
Feisty tween Mae Moore in Drive-Thru Miracle grew on me as quickly as Ramona Quimby and Amber Brown did in their respective books. The author wove a ‘just right’ blend of sassy, sweet, and strong in an 11-year-old bundle of emotions when she created Mae, and in fact she created a whole town full of vivid characters that instantly wrap around your heart. Set on the banks of the ‘Hooch’ (otherwise known as the Chattahoochee River), Jessup is the quintessential Georgia small town with sugared accents, quirky personalities (including Beecher from Villa Rica who, if a real person, would live just west of my own Georgia town), humid heat … and careworn lives to match.
Drive-Thru Miracle addresses poverty, disappointment, job loss, disability, bullying, and unanswered prayers honestly and age-appropriately. Things that every last one of us faces in life at some point, things that – if we’re being honest – kids are exposed to by upper elementary school these days, if not sooner. And it’s imperative that Christian authors are addressing these topics, too, because other worldviews are certainly covering them in the middle grade books already available to our kiddos. I loved the acknowledgement that prayers don’t always get answered the way you want them to – and sometimes that’s a good thing! – but that doesn’t mean God isn’t listening or that He doesn’t care. Instead, this novel reminds kids and adults alike that God is good & is always working for our good, whether we can see it right away or not. And it’s not done in a preachy or in-your-face manner, rather as just a natural part of the characters living their lives.
Bottom Line: Drive-Thru Miracle is a delightful read that upper elementary and middle grade kiddos will enjoy from beginning to end. The characters are layered and relatable, and a healthy dose of humor helps keep the tone lighthearted even while dealing with some heavy topics. I fell in love with Mae, Jimmy Mac, Shelby, Beecher, and even Bubba as well as the adults of small town Jessup, Georgia – and Jessup itself with the strong sense of place the author gives readers. A middle grade read that appeals to people of faith, certainly, but also to people with a different worldview who just want to see characters living life with authenticity & grace. Perfect for fans of the Tree Street Kids series, Ramona Quimby, or Amber Brown!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
Dana Edwards, Ph.D. is a school counselor in one of the largest school systems in the Southeast. She has also been a high school teacher and school counselor educator at Georgia State University. Over the years, Dana has worked with many students and siblings of students with special needs, which inspired her to write Mae’s story. Dana lives north of Atlanta with her husband and two dogs. Drive-Thru Miracle is her first middle grade novel. You can contact her at her website.
What about you? What makes you want to read Drive-Thru Miracle by Dana Edwards, Ph.D.?