• Stacie Haas

Book Review: Believe by Julie

Genre: Children, Coming-of-Age

Rating: 5/5 Stars



In Believe by Julie Mathison, young Melanie is used to hanging out in a tube during recess until she makes a new friend named Sabrina. In Sabrina, Melanie has someone to whom she can relate, someone who understands life without a mother. With Sabrina’s support, Melanie dares to reach for her dream of playing the starring role in the school’s production of Peter Pan and to fight back against a bully who harasses her. Melanie even has Sabrina’s support as she hatches a plan to bring her mom home once and for all. Will Sabrina be around to see that happen, or will Melanie find a way to believe in her own happy ending, one she must choose for herself?


I loved Believe by Julie Mathison. The writing is lyrical, beautiful, and endearing. She creates the character of Melanie flawlessly, bringing to life her inner thoughts and daily life with equal poignancy as she wrestles with the absence of her mother and the struggle of making friends and fitting in at school. In addition to Melanie, the author gives the characters of Melanie's dad, grandmother Gloria, and especially Leanne and Karen, distinctive, relatable voices. Using Melanie’s upcoming role as Peter Pan in the school play to illustrate the concept of Neverland and life without a mother, Mathison was masterful in creating a narrative that compels one to believe in a kind of pixie dust magic. Highly recommended with an enthusiastic five stars!


Originally reviewed by Stacie Haas for Readers' Favorite.