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 shantytown 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.
I was excited to read Everlasting Nora for the book itself and because I'm Filipino American and have lived half my life in the Philippines. I hadn't expected to find the strength of my emotional reaction reading a middle grade novel set in Metro Manila and about the poverty and difficulty that Nora and her friends faced as they struggled to survive on so little.
There are plenty of poor people in the developing world, quite a lot of them are children. But to read about how they fill their days trying to pay for food and shelter, to find water and safety is quite different. Marie Miranda Cruz incorporates Filipino words and phrases in the dialogue and text of the book but it works well. It is great to read reviews and find that people who have no experience with the Philippines are drawn to the story. As a Filipino reader or Filipino American reader, it is particularly thrilling and heartwarming to read a story set in my hometown.
About the Author:
Writer and scientistMarie Miranda Cruz grew up in the Philippines and her work reflects her multicultural roots, both in the country of her birth and in her adopted California. Everlasting Nora is her debut novel.