The Theory of Hummingbirds
Alba and Levi have been best friends always, but life brings many changes, especially when one reaches sixth grade. For Levi, a science nerd, changes aren’t so readily apparent. His debilitating asthma attacks are still a part of his life. For Alba, though, a huge change is coming. For her whole life, she has lived with her left foot, which is “directionally challenged” to the point of having a name — Cleo. Cleo has had many surgeries and has always either been in a cast or a brace, causing Alba to walk with crutches and not be able to be part of many activities. She has long been the time-keeper for the cross-country team, but Cleo’s final cast is about to come off, and Alba dreams of running her first race. When she shares her dream with Levi, he cautions her not to hope too much, a message Alba doesn’t want to hear.
Author Michelle Kadarusman has written a gentle but powerful story of dealing with differences and problems in friendships within a coming-of-age story. The writing is lyrical, the characters believable and well-rounded, and the metaphor of Alba as a hummingbird is heartbreakingly perfect.