Everlasting Nora
An uplifting middle-grade debut about perseverance against all odds, Marie Miranda Cruz's debut Everlasting Nora follows the story of a young girl living in the real-life shanty town inside the Philippines' North Manila Cemetery.After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila's North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.

Everlasting Nora Details

TitleEverlasting Nora
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherStarscape Books
ISBN-139780765394590
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Everlasting Nora Review

  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    Nora is a young Filipina living in a cemetery with her mom. Her ‘‘house’’ literally contains dead people inside, notably her father, who died in the fire that caused them to move to the cemetery in the first place. It certainly isn’t the ideal place for a child or adult for that matter. But it’s all Nora and her mom have, and it could be worse. It’s more than others have. At least they have a roof of a sort over their heads. But Nora’s life is turned even more upside down when her mom suddenly d Nora is a young Filipina living in a cemetery with her mom. Her ‘‘house’’ literally contains dead people inside, notably her father, who died in the fire that caused them to move to the cemetery in the first place. It certainly isn’t the ideal place for a child or adult for that matter. But it’s all Nora and her mom have, and it could be worse. It’s more than others have. At least they have a roof of a sort over their heads. But Nora’s life is turned even more upside down when her mom suddenly disappears and she is left all alone. Well, not quite. She does have Jojo, her friend, who will do anything to help her find her mom. As unique as this story may sound, it isn’t exactly so. Of course, I did like the author’s idea to talk about people living in cemeteries, because that is reality in different places, but everything else – her mom’s disappearance, the villains, the rich-vs-poor thing – all of that was explored in a rather typical way.There’s a lot of money talk and debts to be paid and people getting mad at other people for borrowing too much money. Lots and lots of characters are ‘‘introduced’’ (here, I use the word loosely), but never actually made three dimensional.I felt for Nora. Her family was reduced to two members after the tragic fire. She lost her dad. Not only that, but she also lost her school. She and her mom don’t have the necessary means to buy her school supplies and a uniform to attend school, so she receives very little education now.I cared about her and was rooting for her from the first chapter until the last. The author created a sympathetic and strong-willed heroine. I couldn’t imagine anyone else narrating this book. But I can, however, imagine it going differently. I believe if the author had started the story with the fire itself, or even before that happened, and showed us more vividly what brought mother and daughter to end up in the cemetery – instead of simply summarizing the situation to us – it would have been more eventful and interesting and far less ‘‘typical.’’ But still, not bad. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This unique and compelling story introduced me to a lot of new things. Set in the Philippines, readers are introduced to young Nora, who lives in a cemetery with her mother. Nora takes on increasingly adult tasks as she tries to make sense of her new life after her father's death. Themes of friends, community, and sharing resources are richly developed. I loved learning more about the culture, language, and foods of the Philippines. I want/need a Banana-que!!
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  • Edith
    January 1, 1970
    This is a truly amazing book that I have believed in since its early conception. Marie and I were critique partners when she began writing this book of Nora’s journey. The unique Manila cemetery setting is so rich and alive while you are reading and will remain with you years later. Nora is the kind of middle grade character you can easily root for, and her journey brings to light a much needed story of poverty, struggle & adventure. I can’t recommend this book enough to both kids and adults This is a truly amazing book that I have believed in since its early conception. Marie and I were critique partners when she began writing this book of Nora’s journey. The unique Manila cemetery setting is so rich and alive while you are reading and will remain with you years later. Nora is the kind of middle grade character you can easily root for, and her journey brings to light a much needed story of poverty, struggle & adventure. I can’t recommend this book enough to both kids and adults.
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  • Yusra ✨
    January 1, 1970
    an arc for this randomly showed up in my mailbox, but who's complaining? not me.
  • K.A.
    January 1, 1970
    Such a powerful, heartbreaking read. I learned so much from this tender, beautiful book.
  • Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
    January 1, 1970
    What a deep, important, and meaningful story! I never expected that this junior fiction novel would be as emotional and impactful as it was. It was an important read but very emotional in that it's hard to imagine that some children are living in similar circumstances as these. I could not imagine any child facing the issues that Nora deals with and that was truly heartbreaking to imagine (and also realize that this story may not be pure fiction to all). Due to this depth, I found that this nove What a deep, important, and meaningful story! I never expected that this junior fiction novel would be as emotional and impactful as it was. It was an important read but very emotional in that it's hard to imagine that some children are living in similar circumstances as these. I could not imagine any child facing the issues that Nora deals with and that was truly heartbreaking to imagine (and also realize that this story may not be pure fiction to all). Due to this depth, I found that this novel truly grounded me, humbled me, and reminded me to be appreciative for some of the things that I may take for granted (whether it be in my personal life or due to geographical privileges). This story was eye opening and educational. I never had heard of "grave houses" or that people legitimately live in some cemetaries due to poverty. While reading this novel, I could not help but pause to look up this phenomenon and read about the Manila North Cemetery. The whole concept seems unimaginable to me but is reality for some. The one thing that I must mention is that, I had difficulty reading this novel due to the content. It's serious, graphic, and upsetting content. I'm an adult. This novel is geared towards "middle grade" and is listed for ages 8-12. I don't believe in censorship so I think that this book would be appropriate for some within that age group. However, I don't necessarily know if it would be meant for all. I honestly think this would have been too much for even me at that age and I think I was fairly mature. So, with that being said, be cautious. Some children within that age group would be ready for this novel, some would not. Overall, this was a very important and meaningful novel. It opened my eyes to a culture I have not learned of before and at the same time, created a beautiful story.***Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review***
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  • Mae Respicio
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this moving and gorgeous book. It realistically dealt w/tough themes of poverty and homelessness and still offered an uplifting message about family and perseverance. I remember visiting the Philippines as a kid and first learning about the Manila cemetery subculture--how truly and deeply eye opening that was. Understanding how others live around the world is an amazing way to build empathy in young readers, and I'm so glad this book exists.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusNora and her mother have been living in her father's family mausoleum after they lost their home, and her father, in an apartment fire. They manage, like many others who live in the cemetery, to eke out an existence. There isn't enough money to buy the uniform and supplies needed for Nora to attend school, so she helps her mother do laundry for one family and also makes and sells garlands of flowers. She has good neighbors in Jo and his grandmother, Lola Mercy, and they E ARC from Edelweiss PlusNora and her mother have been living in her father's family mausoleum after they lost their home, and her father, in an apartment fire. They manage, like many others who live in the cemetery, to eke out an existence. There isn't enough money to buy the uniform and supplies needed for Nora to attend school, so she helps her mother do laundry for one family and also makes and sells garlands of flowers. She has good neighbors in Jo and his grandmother, Lola Mercy, and they are very supportive when her mother does not return one night and men associated with loan sharks break into Nora's home and steal the her father's watch and the money she has been collecting to travel to live with her uncle. Because she does not show up to do laundry, she loses that position, and she starts to panic when her mother is still missing. She goes to the mahjong game her mother regularly attends, and talks to some of her mother's friends. Most of the friends can only say that her mother owes them money, but Rosie has some more information. Eventually, Nora finds her mother, who is very sick. Lola and Jo help her tend to her mother's medical needs, and Nora reaches out to the women who employed them, who helps a little. Because circumstances are so dire, Nora attempts to break into the home of the man who stole her watch to get it back, and she finds that there are some issues that have stood in the way of her mother maintaining contact with her brother. Will Nora be able to get her mother the help she needs?Strengths: It's so important that students read about what life is like for other children their age in other parts of the world, or children in the US whose lives are very different. If you liked Saaed's Amal Unbound or Yang's Front Desk, this is another great title to offer to students to expand their horizons. I love that Nora is bright and would really like to attend school, and even does some work with a man who has a mobile school that comes to her area. Even though Nora struggles to get food and water, she is upbeat and proactive about her own life and shows a lot of resiliency and skill in survival. For adults who loved Little House on the Prairie for the way Laura had to use her pluck to survive, I believe that books like this are the thing to hand to students now instead! The glossary of Filipino words and phrases is helpful, and the details of every day life are amazing!Weaknesses: I'm assuming that this takes place in the modern day, but it might help readers who don't know about life in the Philippines to somehow indicate this. What I really think: As a child, I loved books set in different historical periods that told me details of every day life. If there had been books about children in other parts of the world, I would have loved those as well. It's great to see more #ownvoices accounts of life in different countries!
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  • Anne O'Brien Carelli
    January 1, 1970
    I was pleased to receive an ARC of this book to review because it sounded like such an interesting story. I was not disappointed. It is a charming yet disarming story about how quickly families can become impoverished, and how young children can be clever and resilient. I was in Nora's corner from the very beginning and stuck with her, especially when her situation (living in a cemetery along with other homeless families) looked hopeless. This book should be in school libraries -- not only becau I was pleased to receive an ARC of this book to review because it sounded like such an interesting story. I was not disappointed. It is a charming yet disarming story about how quickly families can become impoverished, and how young children can be clever and resilient. I was in Nora's corner from the very beginning and stuck with her, especially when her situation (living in a cemetery along with other homeless families) looked hopeless. This book should be in school libraries -- not only because it's important for kids to understand about homelessness, hunger, and survival -- but because it's such a well-written, engaging story. Highly recommended.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful book for middle schoolers that taught me so much about a culture of which I know very little. The world can be a scary place, and bad things can happen to those we love. Yet friends can help us through those tough times and even in finding solutions. It reminds me, yet again, why one of my favorite quotes is from Aesop: No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Thanks to Nora, and Marie Miranda Cruz, I now know more about the cemetery culture/community in the Philippin A beautiful book for middle schoolers that taught me so much about a culture of which I know very little. The world can be a scary place, and bad things can happen to those we love. Yet friends can help us through those tough times and even in finding solutions. It reminds me, yet again, why one of my favorite quotes is from Aesop: No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Thanks to Nora, and Marie Miranda Cruz, I now know more about the cemetery culture/community in the Philippines.I received my copy from Tor Books. Sorry it took me so long to write my thoughts. Nora is a great character for the target audience. There's a great balance of threat and positive resolution, while also tackling some issues that exist in many cultures.
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  • Melanie Sumrow
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! What a powerful book! I absolutely adored Nora and how friendship plays a key role in the story. The book shows how even the smallest acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. It’s wonderful how Nora learns to appreciate the people around her and never loses hope.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so unique, insightful and eye opening! I got it as an ebook from NetGalley to review and I genuinely didn't expect it to have such an effect on myself and make me think. I loved the story of Nora and her daily life at the cemetery. I've never before about people living in such conditions and it surprised me immensely how they've managed to create a home where the dead are "living". I highly recommend it if you are looking for something different, humane and inspiring.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Charles Dickens wrote many of his novels to show what life was like for the downtrodden, for those kids that had slipped through the cracks, through no fault of their own. And like Olive Twist, Nora, in this story, has had bad luck, on top of bad luck, in her early life. Written about the real life existence of shanty towns in the North Manila Cemetray of the Philippines, Nora has to live in a mosoleum of her father, who died in the fire that destroyed their home. Although school itself is free, Charles Dickens wrote many of his novels to show what life was like for the downtrodden, for those kids that had slipped through the cracks, through no fault of their own. And like Olive Twist, Nora, in this story, has had bad luck, on top of bad luck, in her early life. Written about the real life existence of shanty towns in the North Manila Cemetray of the Philippines, Nora has to live in a mosoleum of her father, who died in the fire that destroyed their home. Although school itself is free, in the Philippines, the books and uniforms are not, and so, she can’t even go to school now. She sells everlasting wreaths for the people that come to the cemetray to pay their respects.The author says that when she, a Philapina, came to Manila, after living in the United States, she was not aware that all the people selling things in the cemetary were actually living there. She realized that she wanted a story that told about the children who lived there, all their lives.Nora goes through a lot, but has good friends, that help her. So, while all seems lost, she does push through, despite the evil that is around her.This is a good introduction to children of first world countries, to see how others live. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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  • Lisa Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz. I thought I was about to read a ghost story, but it’s not about ghosts. I loved learning about the cemetery homes of the Philippines. A great opportunity to teach empathy, friendship, addiction, and so much more! #collabookation #mglit #kidlit ‪Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz. I thought I was about to read a ghost story, but it’s not about ghosts. I loved learning about the cemetery homes of the Philippines. A great opportunity to teach empathy, friendship, addiction, and so much more! #collabookation #mglit #kidlit ‬
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Naomi enjoyed reading this ARC, she buzzed right through it. Now, it's my turn.
  • Kathie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC of this book. All opinions are my own.Wow.. I’ve read very few books set in the Philippines, so it was so interesting to learn about the way that some individuals live. Nora’s life is filled with challenges and obstacles that were overwhelming sad for me, even though there is hope and community in the story. This is a powerful and eye-opening story.
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  • Naomi
    January 1, 1970
    Compelling and compassionate book, great for late elementary, early middle.
  • Phyllis Krall
    January 1, 1970
    An intriguing read about a young girl who becomes homeless and has to live in the Manila North Cemetery in the Philippines. She is forced to endure unbelievable hardships and lead the life of a squatter, giving up many comforts of her old life.Twelve year old Nora has to move to a cemetery with her mother, when her apartment is destroyed in a fire. Her father loses his life and all Nora has left to remember him by is his watch. Nora’s mother disappears one dayand Nora is left to fend for herself An intriguing read about a young girl who becomes homeless and has to live in the Manila North Cemetery in the Philippines. She is forced to endure unbelievable hardships and lead the life of a squatter, giving up many comforts of her old life.Twelve year old Nora has to move to a cemetery with her mother, when her apartment is destroyed in a fire. Her father loses his life and all Nora has left to remember him by is his watch. Nora’s mother disappears one dayand Nora is left to fend for herself. She makes daisy garlands that she sells in town and tries to continue the laundry jobs she shared with her mother.Nora uses her inner strength to search for her Mom, putting herself in grave danger . She encounters loan sharks that stole her father’s watch to recover debts that her mother incurred. With the help of her neighbors in the cemetery, Nora learns how friendship, love and hope are truly everlasting.I thoroughly enjoyed this YA book which I received from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.I never knew about the hundreds of homeless people that live in cemeteries in the Philippines until I read this book. Nora’s narrative gave me an insight into their lives which are filled with remarkable resilience. This is a read for both young and old and is highly recommended.
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw this was set in the Philippines I snatched it up. From the beginning I felt compelled to do outside research on the Philippines and the facts revealed in the story. (Do people really live in cemeteries? Yes. They do). The author delves into some very serious and very real topics, including childhood homelessness and the destructive effects gambling addiction can have on a family. I enjoyed the extensive Tagalog glossary and descriptions of traditional Filipino foods. I was surprised t When I saw this was set in the Philippines I snatched it up. From the beginning I felt compelled to do outside research on the Philippines and the facts revealed in the story. (Do people really live in cemeteries? Yes. They do). The author delves into some very serious and very real topics, including childhood homelessness and the destructive effects gambling addiction can have on a family. I enjoyed the extensive Tagalog glossary and descriptions of traditional Filipino foods. I was surprised to learn that children who can’t afford a uniform and books can’t go to public school. Those are not obstacles for children where I live and I have always taken that for granted. Caution: there are parts of the book that might scare certain kids, or that they may not be emotionally ready to handle. Parents should read the book first to discuss and possibly prepare their child. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Gaby
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited to read Everlasting Nora for the book itself and because I'm Filipino American and have lived half my life in the Philippines. I hadn't expected to find the strength of my emotional reaction reading a middle grade novel set in Metro Manila and about the poverty and difficulty that Nora and her friends faced as they struggled to survive on so little. There are plenty of poor people in the developing world, quite a lot of them are children. But to read about how they fill their days I was excited to read Everlasting Nora for the book itself and because I'm Filipino American and have lived half my life in the Philippines. I hadn't expected to find the strength of my emotional reaction reading a middle grade novel set in Metro Manila and about the poverty and difficulty that Nora and her friends faced as they struggled to survive on so little. There are plenty of poor people in the developing world, quite a lot of them are children. But to read about how they fill their days trying to pay for food and shelter, to find water and safety is quite different. Marie Miranda Cruz incorporates Filipino words and phrases in the dialogue and text of the book but it works well. It is great to read reviews and find that people who have no experience with the Philippines are drawn to the story. As a Filipino reader or Filipino American reader, it is particularly thrilling and heartwarming to read a story set in my hometown.
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  • Robyn
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent coming of age tale where the young heroine faces trial after trial; however, she retains her hope and drive. She has grit and her friends who give generously despite not having much themselves. Even though Nora and her mother live in a tomb in a cemetery, she struggles to better herself and longs to return to school. What a great message for young people who have so many advantages. Thanks to #NetGalley for the copy of the book. #EverlastingNora
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Received an ARC from a friend and colleague who does collection development. This story is lovely, heartbreaking, and necessary. The feelings of love, duty, pride and shame that Nora has, truly embody Filipino culture. The story may seem unreal to some, but it is based in fact and the plight of those living in the cemeteries is a heartbreaking truth. Thank you, Ms. Cruz for writing a story that I will put into the hands of all of my friends, not just the Filipino American ones.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful debut! Heartbreaking, inspiring, and original. I loved Nora’s strength, resilience, and vulnerability, and I loved getting to know the friends she learns to open up to. This book has it all: emotion, adventure, and a vivid and fascinating setting.
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  • Dana Gisser
    January 1, 1970
    This was a cute ARC our supervisor picked up during the ALA conference and brought back to us. I loved this book and the representation it offers. It was really interesting to learn about the Phillipine families who live in cemeteries as I never knew about that subculture even though I have friends living in the Phillipines.
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  • Kristin Crouch
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Marie Miranda Cruz for providing an ARC for review to collabookation.Nora's story takes place in Manila’s North Cemetery, where she moved with her mother after her father died in a house fire. Nora and her mom have been eeking out an existence as labanderas (laundrywomen who wash clothing by hand). Over time, Nora's mom has developed a gambling habit, and now she's gone missing. Now Nora must do whatever she can to get her mother back safe. Cruz portrays the struggle of poverty in s Thank you to Marie Miranda Cruz for providing an ARC for review to collabookation.Nora's story takes place in Manila’s North Cemetery, where she moved with her mother after her father died in a house fire. Nora and her mom have been eeking out an existence as labanderas (laundrywomen who wash clothing by hand). Over time, Nora's mom has developed a gambling habit, and now she's gone missing. Now Nora must do whatever she can to get her mother back safe. Cruz portrays the struggle of poverty in stunningly realistic prose. I could feel the stress Nora was under to both find her mother and keep their one paying job. The tension of making all the adult decisions by herself was heartbreaking. And Nora teeters, understandably, between desperation to find her mother and anger toward her for getting them into this position. The book doesn't read like an adventure (it shouldn't), instead it felt more like a memoir (it isn't). This is due to Cruz’s deft writing. I selfishly felt relieved when the story ended, because the stress felt so true. However, the strife is balanced by a rich culture and supportive friendships. In her search for her mother, Nora realizes she isn't as alone as she often feels. Hope for a better life buoy Nora, and her stubborn courage in the face of unknown dangers is astonishing. I recommend Everlasting Nora to kids in grades 6 and up, but to adults as well. While it is based in the Philippines, we should all know the startlingly difficult decisions people in extreme poverty are forced to make.
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  • Tahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...*I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, but I loved it! There wasn’t a single moment that I was bored, the author kept me engaged the whole time. The story was so easy to follow as the plot was flawless, because of this, I truly felt like I’d been on a journey with Nora, in every sense of the word. It was such a unique story, I can’t think of Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...*I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, but I loved it! There wasn’t a single moment that I was bored, the author kept me engaged the whole time. The story was so easy to follow as the plot was flawless, because of this, I truly felt like I’d been on a journey with Nora, in every sense of the word. It was such a unique story, I can’t think of anything else like it. Yes, there were classic themes, such as poor vs rich, powerful vs weak and the general hardships in life, but Everlasting Nora was authentic, especially in that it was set in the Philippines. I enjoyed the inclusion of Philippine culture a lot, the snippets of their language, food and customs, added such a nice touch.My favourite thing about this book, and also my favourite character, was Jojo. He was the self appointed, 13 year old personal protector of Nora. I loved this little ball of sunshine so much, he really was like a reliable source of light through all of the darkness in Nora’s life. He was the one person that she could rely on, even more so than her mother. He cared about Nora so much and it touched my heart greatly, their friendship was the purest thing ever, in that way that only children’s can be! They had each other’s backs through any and everything and gave each other some much needed companionship, in a situation that no one should be in.One of the most upsetting things about this book was that although they were in a less than ideal situation, Nora and her mother always had each other, so when her mother disappears, Nora feels abandoned and is forced to confront the issues in their relationship. Nora lost her father in a fire in their old home, and so her and her mother eventually end up on the streets, and her mother has not been coping very well at all. Her mother, understandably, wants to find a way to make a better life for them and in her desperation she spirals out of control. She develops a gambling addiction and ends up losing the menial jobs that they need to survive on. Then she gets involved with some really bad people, taking out loans to pay off all her debts and then she doesn’t come home for a number of days. Nora then thinks about all of the times her mum has spent money on things they don’t need, like purses and dresses, even demanding some of Nora’s own earnings. One of the things that makes me so angry is when people don’t look after their children to the best of their ability, the thought of this 12 year old girl being all alone in a makeshift home in a graveyard, makes me so sad.I also struggled with the fact that these kids are so young and yet had adult responsibilities, Nora was only 12 and she had to be working, otherwise her and her mother would not survive. Her mother had lost them two washing jobs already and so when she disappears, Nora is clinging to that last job, trying to do tasks that were meant for the both of them. I felt so sorry for her when she arrives to do washing and she feels such despair at seeing denim items, as she knows how physically draining they are to wash. If this wasn’t difficult enough, Nora is trying to keep this job, whilst searching for her mother in the streets. My heart really goes out to these children that are forced to grow up so quickly. Nora can’t even attend school anymore, even though she desperately wants to, because they can’t pay for a uniform and supplies. Every child should have the right to an education and so I completely fell in love with the character Kuya Efren who Nora says “came to the cemetery a few times a week to teach children whose parents couldn’t even afford to send them to public school . They were squatter kids like me who had no money for uniforms and school supplies.” Unfortunately this sort of help probably isn’t realistic for most of these kids, which is hard to accept.Now the most devastating thing about this book is that it is loosely based on real life events. Many years after a trip to her native country, the Philippines, where she celebrated her first All Souls’ Day, the author was shocked to find out that people actually lived in those cemeteries. She was so moved that she chose to write this story, influenced by one particular little girl called Grace, who she read about on a blog by a Baptist Missionary. This girl was an orphan who lived in a graveyard in Manila, where she had to beg on the streets to stay alive. The Missionary returned to the Philippines to help rescue Grace and other children, but found that she had died in a charity hospital all alone. I can’t even express how much Grace’s story hurts my heart and I’m so grateful to the author for raising awareness through this beautiful story, right down to all of the resources at the end, for those who want to learn more.What I found so magical about this story is how it showed how family doesn’t have to be someone you are related to. Despite Nora’s initial resistance to accepting her neighbours kindness and her shame at living in the graveyard, she eventually learned to appreciate everything and everyone that she did have. It was beautiful how those who resided in the graveyards looked out for one another, how they would use the few things that they did have to help each other out. Like if one person had a way of cooking food, they would allow others to use their stove and in return they would get a share of the food cooked, I’m a sucker for books that create such a sense of community and this book made me so happy. Jojo and Lola Fely in particular were so precious and truly were a blessing to Nora and this book.Everlasting Nora was a moving novel that was as informative as it was bursting with rich characters, hope and love. It was a beautifully engaging take on a subject that most people would either like to pretend doesn’t exist or are simply unaware of. And Nora is such a powerful character, showing such fierce loyalty to her mother, despite her shortcomings, is determined to help her self and her mother and is wise beyond her years. I challenge anyone to not fall in love with her and her newfound graveyard family, this book offers some harsh realities, whilst also making you see the miracle of community and kindness in the most dire of circumstances.
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  • Desiree
    January 1, 1970
    It might seem that I’m biased but I just can’t help but love this book so much. I was anxious at first and I was glad that this didn’t disappoint. It was so much more than I hope for. Set in one of the most populated cemetery, dead and alive people alike, in Manila, Everlasting Nora surely makes for an interesting read. Who would have thought cemetery could be a living quarters for a lot of people? It might seem scary and depressing, even embarrassing. Such as the case with Nora. One year of liv It might seem that I’m biased but I just can’t help but love this book so much. I was anxious at first and I was glad that this didn’t disappoint. It was so much more than I hope for. Set in one of the most populated cemetery, dead and alive people alike, in Manila, Everlasting Nora surely makes for an interesting read. Who would have thought cemetery could be a living quarters for a lot of people? It might seem scary and depressing, even embarrassing. Such as the case with Nora. One year of living in the cemetery and it is still hard for her to call it her home. Nora as the main character and narrator is someone you’ll easily root for. She’s clever, brave, independent and devoted to her family. I love that she loves school and even though she had to stop, she longed to be in one and still try to learn with the help of Kuya Efren, inspired by the real-life founder of Dynamic Teen Company who pioneered pushcart classroom where they go to the slum areas such as cemetery and trash dumps to teach the out-of-school kids. I also love how well-developed Nora’s character is. From wanting to run away from the cemetery, she came to see it as her home and with that came the acceptance and appreciation of the people around her. Her loyalty to her mother and the ability to forgive her despite her Mama’s shortcomings is very admirable.There are numerous characters introduced and it can be a little tricky to keep up with all of the names, but aside from Nora, Jojo is another character that made a mark. He is Nora’s best friend and is such a delight to read. He is cheerful and industrious and is someone whom you want to be friends with. At the age of 13, he’s providing for himself and his grandmother. The community in which Nora lives mirrored most communities in the Philippines. They treat each other as family and when one needed help, they will give it without expecting anything in return. It also realistically portrayed how resilient the Filipinos are.The story may not be an original one, but the setting and the characters certainly made Everlasting Nora quite unique. It may be a work of fiction but it certainly feels like something that happens in reality. The plot, the characters, they are all realistically presented. I like how the author managed to spin what seems to be a miserable and hopeless story into something heartwarming and uplifting. It shows how you need not be related for someone to be called family. It is well-written and absorbing. A book about family, friendship, forgiveness, hope, and determination. I definitely love reading about Nora’s journey and I can’t rate it high enough. Though the target readers are middle graders, adult readers will surely enjoy it, too.*Copy courtesy of NetGalley.
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  • Briana
    January 1, 1970
    Nora Everlasting is one of those special books that will make you think, make you laugh, make you cry. It is narrated by Nora, a young girl in the Philippines whose family is impoverished after her home goes up in flames and her father tines in the fire. She and her mother go to live in a mausoleum in the cemetery–something she had no idea poor people did until she and her mother had to do it, too. The plot of the story revolved around the “mystery” of her mother going missing from their grave h Nora Everlasting is one of those special books that will make you think, make you laugh, make you cry. It is narrated by Nora, a young girl in the Philippines whose family is impoverished after her home goes up in flames and her father tines in the fire. She and her mother go to live in a mausoleum in the cemetery–something she had no idea poor people did until she and her mother had to do it, too. The plot of the story revolved around the “mystery” of her mother going missing from their grave house one day, but the heart of the story is about Nora navigating coming to terms with her poverty, whether she can trust her old friends or make new ones, and dealing with her mother’s gambling addiction and the hope that one day things will be better.The plot of Nora’s search for her missing mother gives the book structure and adds some excitement, even some humor, to a book that might otherwise seem overly dark (even considering the fact that having your mother disappear while you’re living alone in a cemetery is pretty dark in the first place). However, in some ways the quest structure and the minor hijinks that ensue are fairly typical middle grade fare. It’s really Nora’s personality, her struggles, and her growth that put their stamp on the plot and make the book engaging.Throughout the novel, Nora learns a lot about herself and about the world around her. Her standard of living before the fire seemed to have been comfortable, though it seems everyone in the book is a bit hard up for cash, and so entering poverty forces her to take a good look at her surroundings. It gives a her a new perspective on things like privileged she was to have been able to attend school. However, it also forces her to reevaluate the people around her, to realize her old friends might not judge her for being poor and to realize that the people who live around her in the other grave houses are people with dignity, too. She learns to appreciate the simple things in life and that hope must be combined with hard work.The one thing the book left unexplored is Nora’s mother’s gambling addiction and how realistic it might be for her to actually overcome that. The book isn’t shy about delving into the pain and trouble this addiction causes, but it does seem to take the overly optimistic tack that the simple willingness to stop gambling will immediately solve all problems. To be fair, the book ends before readers can see how this really plays out, and ending on a note of hope is great, especially for middle grade. It also makes sense that a child’s POV would be “If my parent really cared, they’d stop gambling” and sort of expect it to be that easy. So maybe exploring the real difficulties of beating an addition, even once you’ve put your mind up to it, is just a topic for a different book.Everlasting Nora is a quick read, but it’s compelling and stands out from a lot of the middle grade crowd.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    This story of family and cultural bonds by Marie Miranda Cruz is a wonderful addition to the array of books showcasing cultural diversity. It is important that, first, children learn about the lives of other children that may live differently than themselves and, second, that Filipino-American children see children like themselves in their books. Twelve-year-old Nora and her mother live in Manila’s North Cemetery. Their home was destroyed in a fire, the same fire that took the life of Nora’s fat This story of family and cultural bonds by Marie Miranda Cruz is a wonderful addition to the array of books showcasing cultural diversity. It is important that, first, children learn about the lives of other children that may live differently than themselves and, second, that Filipino-American children see children like themselves in their books. Twelve-year-old Nora and her mother live in Manila’s North Cemetery. Their home was destroyed in a fire, the same fire that took the life of Nora’s father. Destitute, they now live in his mausoleum. The North Cemetery is home to the Philippine’s largest shanty town. Unable to afford the uniforms and supplies, Nora can no longer attend school. She now makes garlands of flowers that she sells to people visiting loved ones’ graves, and she and her mother are laundrywomen. Day after day, they struggle for survival. The next meal is never assured. I loved the depiction of the supportive friendships in the community that helped them get through each day. This was so important when Nora’s mother suddenly disappears. Nora learns she is not alone when her friend Jojo and his grandmother come to her aid. Nora’s love and determination never waver as she searches for her mother. I felt Nora’s stubbornness, her discomfort, her confusion, her pain, and her fear. The search for her mother led her into some dangerous territory. Through Ms. Cruz’ writing, these characters felt very real to me. I loved that there was a glossary of Tagalog words and phrases in the back of the book. I found the descriptions of everyday life, their foods, and various cultural aspects of their lives very interesting. But above all, I ached for the children that live the lives described in this book.Since this book is targeted for ages 8-12, I suggest that some of the scenes dealing with homelessness, hunger, and dangerous characters may be too “dark” for the younger eight- and nine-year-olds. But I highly recommend it for the older children – and adults.I received an advance reading copy from the publisher.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance reader's copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.3.5 stars!Nora is intelligent, hard-working, persistent, and just so happens to live in a cemetery—a mausoleum to be exact. And not just any mausoleum, but the one housing her father’s dead body. After her father’s death, Nora and her mom moved to the family grave house. It’s not that they wanted to live amongst the dead, but they were forced to out of poverty, alongside thousa I received an advance reader's copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.3.5 stars!Nora is intelligent, hard-working, persistent, and just so happens to live in a cemetery—a mausoleum to be exact. And not just any mausoleum, but the one housing her father’s dead body. After her father’s death, Nora and her mom moved to the family grave house. It’s not that they wanted to live amongst the dead, but they were forced to out of poverty, alongside thousands of other Filipinos in the capital city of Manila.After a long day of selling everlasting daisy garlands outside the cemetery gates, Nora arrives home to an empty house. Her mother is gone. When her mom doesn’t come home after one day, then two, she begins to worry. Nora remembers her mother as she used to be—smiling, singing, and radiant—before they lost everything. Lorna, Nora’s mom, is a gambling addict and it seems that her bad habit has finally caught up with her. Nora refuses to lose her mom and, along with her best friend Jojo, sets out to find her and bring her home.Nora is a beautiful character. At twelve years old, she longs to return to school and escape from the impoverished prison holding her captive. Despite losing her father and the only life she’s ever known she holds her head high and learns what it means to be a survivor.Nora’s journey, and her transformation, was truly inspiring. In her desperation to save her mom, Nora learns how to trust people again and to look for kindness in unexpected places. Rather than dwelling on life as it used to be, she begins to create her own opportunities and accept the generosity of others. In searching for her mom, Nora really discovers a new identity for herself.Overall, I enjoyed “Everlasting Nora”; it was truly an adventure set in a place that I could never imagine calling home. Cruz paints a picture of cemetery dwellers as survivors and innovators and honors them with the dignity that is often stripped away by those outside their walls. “Everlasting Nora” is a fantastic middle grade book that illustrates empathy and how to look beneath the surface and into the true nature of others.
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