Portia's Incredible Journey
"How did everything go so wrong so quickly?" laments the almost 11-year-old narrator of Price's debut novel, after her parents tell her she must learn to administer her own insulin shots rather than rely on them to do it. Portia then flashes back a year, to when she was diagnosed with diabetes, adjusted her diet, and learned how to test her blood sugar. In the present, a visit from her cousin, who also has diabetes, comforts Portia, as both girls deal with their health-related problems. Attending a summer camp for diabetics, Portia reaches out to an ornery girl who is also afraid of giving herself insulin shots. Back home, Portia worries about the growing tension between her parents and fears they will divorce. While the story may reassure diabetic readers, it's weighed down by extraneous, stilted dialogue. The story's histrionic tenor reaches a crescendo when a truck slams into the van that Portia and several family members are riding in—while fleeing a hurricane—and Portia requires surgery for a broken arm. Portia's close bond with her caring grandmother adds an affecting note to this overwrought novel. Ages 6–12.