Review of World Made of Glass

World Made of Glass World Made of Glass
by Ami Polonsky
Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    288 pp.
1/23    9780316462044    $16.99
e-book ed.  9780316462259    $9.99

It’s 1987, and twelve-year-old Iris Cohen is feeling extremely fragile. In the past year, her father, an NYU professor, has moved to an upstairs unit in their Greenwich Village apartment building and begun a relationship with a man. Before Iris can wrap her head around the new living arrangement, Dad contracts AIDS and is given little hope for survival. Iris and her father are kindred spirits and share a special bond—a love of words, writing, and poetry. The acrostic poems left on each other’s doorsteps give readers a glimpse into their relationship and shine a light on their wit, expansive personalities, and mutual affection. The devastation of his loss is made palpable when the poems abruptly stop. To honor her dad’s wishes, Iris works at getting to know his partner, J.R., and, in the process, learns about her father’s activism and advocacy for fellow AIDS patients. This aspect of his life is totally unknown to her, and participating in early ACT UP demonstrations allows her to channel some of the rage and frustration she feels. With the support of her mom and a small cadre of friends, she sets out to try to change the conversation about the epidemic, including the way the public is being educated about the disease and the way it is spread. This is the best kind of family story, filled with love and, yes, loss, but most importantly with caring. The narrative is lyrical and heartfelt, and young people will be inspired to see Iris transcend her grief, use her voice, and find a way to make a difference.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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