Pighearted

Alex Perry. Little, Brown, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-53877-0
Jeremiah, 12, is a cued-white Houston boy born with a bad heart; his need for an imminent transplant becomes apparent after a soccer field collapse. Jeremiah 6 (known as J-6) is a lab pig chimera injected with human DNA and growing a human heart, who doctors believe can save Jeremiah’s life. When, three months before Jeremy’s scheduled surgery, he receives J-6 as a gift from his parents, claiming the pig is a therapy animal, the boy has no idea of the newfound pet’s fate. Predictably, the two soon bond and become loyal brothers as Jeremiah learns some of J-6’s remarkable skills, including understanding human language, spelling, and reading. By the time Jeremiah realizes his beloved pet is going to die on the day he receives a new heart, he’s willing to do anything to save J-6’s life—even if it means risking his own. The parents’ behavior feels a bit callous, but debut author Perry, exploring the ethics of animal experimentation, offers two compelling first-person perspectives, alternating between a dying boy and an anthropomorphic pig and providing a sweet, if slightly farfetched, resolution. Back matter includes an author’s note and resources. Ages 8–12. Agent: Melissa Nasson, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/06/2021
Release date: 10/26/2021
Genre: Children's
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