monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

miraclevillePublisher: Orca, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Ani lives in the tiny Quebec town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where her family runs Saintly Souvenirs, a tourist shop catering to the many pilgrims who come to the town seeking a miracle. Ani is a good girl: devout, virginal and obedient. Nothing like her younger sister Colette. When Ani's faith is tested, and she is confronted with something shocking in her mother's past, she has to rethink her whole existence and decide what direction she wants her life to take.

"Read Miracleville and stay tuned for the miracles which happen within the pages of this outstanding, dare I say heavenly, young adult novel!" -- CM Magazine


"Thought-provoking theological, ethical, and social questions confront 16-year-old narrator Ani and her family as personal tragedy and the exposure of long-held family secrets exacerbate the everyday challenges of a family-run business, ADHD, and awakening adolescent sexuality.... In this sensitive examination of the complexities of faith, Polak (The Middle of Everywhere) captures the perplexing nuances of a town whose economy depends on and caters to pilgrim tourists, which affects the beliefs of local inhabitants, creating both skeptics and devout believers" -- Publishers Weekly

"Montrealer Monique Polak is a teacher at Marianopolis College, a vocation that makes itself felt in her other job as award-winning writer of YA novels, the setting of each one -- she's published 12 books in the past seven years -- as eye opening and world expanding as the last.... few readers will be able to resist the pacing of this very personal mystery" -- Montreal Gazette

"Ani's character is great because she's obviously trying to come to terms with growing up, her friends' and sister's emergent sexuality, problems within her family, and uniting this with her Catholic faith. These struggles make her a more interesting and sympathetic character.... Perhaps Polak should have considered expanding this into a series" -- Resource Links

"An involving coming-of-age novel for girls who love realistic fiction.... All of the characters are very skillfully drawn, and each one of them faces personal challenges and struggles that are very realistically portrayed. The book will encourage students to think deeply about issues that many books treat more superficially, for example sibling loyalty in the face of sibling rivalry. young love and its risks, friendship and betrayal. While religion plays a strong part in the story, it is presented in a very open-ended, broad way that will speak to all readers, whether they are religious or not" -- Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee

"On the front cover of this book is a blurb from Louise Sachar, author of Holes: 'Wonderful characters... a simple joy just to spend time with them.' I have to agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Sachar. I fell in love with Ani almost from the beginning of this book. Yes, she's a stereotypical 'good girl,' but she's also struggling with her goodness and the desire for more.... this book will find an audience with the many girls I know who love contemporary realistic fiction" --