Children’s

The Girl with More Than One Heart

  • Review
By – May 4, 2018

Briana’s world has turned upside down. Her beloved father has died, and her moth­er has psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly checked out, leav­ing Bri­ana to take care of her­self and her spe­cial-needs lit­tle broth­er Aaron — all while keep­ing her grades up and liv­ing the life of a teenage girl. Her one source of calm comes from the feel­ing that she now has a sec­ond heart — her father’s — beat­ing just below hers. Her Dad heart” beats out cryp­tic but com­fort­ing mes­sages, and each time, Bri­ana is trans­port­ed back to a mem­o­ry before Aaron’s birth, when her fam­i­ly was togeth­er and life seemed less con­fus­ing. Stretched to her break­ing point, Bri­ana tries to cope with Aaron’s stone-face tantrums,” her best friends’ turn­ing their backs on her, and the stress of mov­ing. Life begins to spi­ral out of con­trol, threat­en­ing to take Bri­ana with it.

Although the book doesn’t con­tain exten­sive Jew­ish con­tent, the family’s Jew­ish iden­ti­ty is rein­forced by details such as the pres­ence of a rab­bi at Briana’s father’s funer­al, and the family’s cel­e­bra­tion of Hanukkah. The Girl with More Than One Heart will hook read­ers from the first line and car­ry them through to the end. Bri­ana cap­tures the reader’s heart with the two beat­ing in her own chest. This is the sto­ry of a girl work­ing through grief, deal­ing with the curve­balls life con­stant­ly pitch­es, and find­ing a path back to nor­mal life, what­ev­er that is. It is a pow­er­ful sto­ry with a unique format.

Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

Discussion Questions