ARC (Advanced Reading Copy). Published July 16, 2013. Walker Books (Bloomsbury). 339 pp. (Includes A Note from the Author).
Danielle was supposed to be a camp counselor that summer, but something happened during her Bat Mitzvah – she froze during her special reading. Now terrified of being around large groups of people, she becomes a babysitter for 5 year old Humphrey, a very lovable child prodigy. Humphrey has an interesting way of looking at the world, and Danielle soon falls in love with him and his eagerness to learn how to throw a perfect spiral with her football. They spend hours together as she teaches him how to play football as they learn about looking at life in different ways from each other.
Alternating past memories of her time with Humphrey and the present, Danielle recounts the events that led up to Humphrey being killed in a car accident. Unable to face what happened that day, Danielle withdraws into herself even more until she meets Justin. She seems to feel Humphrey’s presence whenever she’s around Justin, which helps to calm her.
However, with the entire town shocked over Humphrey’s death, it doesn’t take long for their furor to fall upon the heads of the illegal immigrants who drove the car that hit Humphrey. The demand to drive all immigrants out of their county seems to resound extra loudly with Justin and, without meaning to, Danielle is soon caught up in the ensuing chaos. She wants to stay in her shell, but has to do what Humphrey would have wanted her to do.
“Imperfect Spiral” is touchingly written, and its emotional storyline will resound with readers aged 12-16. The battle over immigration is an important part of our society these days, and Levy does a good job of bring this heated issue to light.