Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet Book Review

Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet
By Barbara Dee
Published by Aladdin: September 27, 2022

Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet is now out, and I highly recommend it for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. I don't know about you, but I'm already making my Christmas shopping lists, and this would be on my list if the kids in our family were old enough to read it. (This year, we've only got second-graders or younger to shop for, but that's a post for another day.) Barbara Dee is an extraordinary author who crafts narratives that are timely to the utmost and genuine in voice. Dee portrays Haven Jacobs, a middle school student experiencing anxiety, authentically and compassionately. Mental health has already been a theme in Dee's past work, and Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet brings it to the forefront as it relates to our climate crisis.

Haven works to combat pollution in her local river, but there is no easy answer - the newly-opened factory that is revitalizing her town and employing her own father may be causing the pollution. In addition to cliques, crushes, and school work, Haven grapples with her conscience over voicing her suspicions. While readers will find no easy answer in Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet, they will find a kindred spirit, a recognition of the daunting climate crisis, and an example of channeling one's efforts toward measurable change. When Haven finds the support she needs from her parents, friends, and teachers, what seemed insurmountable becomes workable. It is Haven's journey from self-enclosed storm of anxiety to collaborative activist in therapy that shows readers the value in voicing one's struggles and welcoming aid.

You should know that I started reading this in the evening, thinking to put it down part way through and go to bed. I did not. I read it all in one sitting. In short, the plot and characters were so compelling that at no point could I turn away.

Note: A review copy was provided upon request for the purpose of an honest review. All thoughts are my own.