Author: Marie Miranda Cruz
Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge
12-year-old Nora and her mom live in a grave house in Manila’s largest cemetery. That’s right – a grave house. They sleep and eat next to the tomb of her father, who died in a house fire.
They are poor but they survive by doing laundry and selling Nora’s dried flower wreaths. That is until Nora’s mom goes missing – a victim of debt associated with her gambling addiction.
It sounds depressing. And it is. But Nora’s determination and resourcefulness keep them both alive – and keep readers of Everlasting Nora turning the pages of the book to find out what happens.
Although the story contains many heart-thumping, action scenes, Cruz does not skip on the details necessary to bring the setting to life. I learned a lot about Filipino culture, especially the food (I can’t wait to try banana-que).
Life is unrelentingly hard for Nora. But her courage fills the story with promise and hope. Everlasting Nora is a heart-filled glimpse into a piece of the Philippines, filled with characters that are easy to root for (especially Jojo). I hope Nora makes it back to school!