Cover image for The mighty heart of Sunny St. James / Ashley Herring Blake.
The mighty heart of Sunny St. James / Ashley Herring Blake.
Title Variants:
Mighty heart of Sunny Saint James
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York ; Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 2019.
Physical Description:
375 pages ; 21 cm.
"Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James must navigate heart surgery, reconnections with a lost mother, the betrayal of a former best friend, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
BLA Book Junior Collection

On Order



When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a New Life Plan : 1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before; 2) find a new best friend; and 3) kiss a boy for the first time. Her New Life Plan seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. With the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James.

As with Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World , the sophomore middle grade novel by Ashley Herring Blake adds to the slowly growing, but still small list of queer MG titles. The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James is a gorgeous follow-up to Ivy Aberdeen as a novel about grief, loss, discovery, friendship, and the power in being oneself, no matter what.

This sweet, tender novel has a strong voice in the vein of The Thing About Jellyfish , strong potential for the School & Library market, and is an award contender.

Author Notes

Ashley Herring Blake lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two sons. She is the author of the young adult novels Suffer Love, How to Make a Wish, and Girl Made of Stars , as well as the middle-grade novel Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World .

Reviews 1

Horn Book Review

After receiving a heart transplant, twelve-year-old Sunny decides its time for a New Life with specific componentsincluding finding a boy to kiss and finding a new best friend (her old one having spilled Sunnys secret: she thinks about kissing boys and girls). A girl named Quinn, whos visiting for the summer, is willing to fill in as best friend and also to help Sunny find a kissing partneran endeavor that raises more questions for Sunny than it answers. Meanwhile, her long-absent mother is back in her life; reactions to her moms reappearance from headstrong Sunny and her protective guardian Kate are particularly well drawn. Despite many plot threads, the novel doesnt feel overcrowded, between the measured revelations of backstory and the emotion-infused first-person narration that makes everything easy to follow. As in Ivy Aberdeens Letter to the World (rev. 5/18), Blake balances her portrayal of major upheaval in a preteens life with her characters private questions of identity, which feel major as well. shoshana flax March/April 2019 p 76(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.