Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: Breakthrough

Premise: The story of how heart surgery was invented by a team of very intelligent, but overlooked surgeons. 

Title: Breakthrough!
Author: Jim Murphy
Length: 144 pages
Genre: Nonfiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content appropriate for: Grades 7-12
Format: Digital ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Three adjectives that describe this book: interesting, lacking, thought-provoking

Breakthrough! explores the invention of heart surgery by three scientists. I loved that the text really demonstrated how science is collaborative and how failure and creative problem solving are critical to the process. Of course, it was also lovely that one of the three scientists was a woman, and one was African American. Murphy took a  wonderfully explicit approach the issues of discrimination faced by these scientists.

Compared with other books by Murphy, though, Breakthrough! lacked some depth. It is extremely narrowly focused, and could have benefited from fleshing out more of the people and setting. This story of discrimination, tenacity, risk-taking, and scientific exploration didn't quite reach it's potential for captivating narrative.

This book is probably best suited for older students, as it uses medical and anatomical terminology with little explanation.

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