The novel, Fehlbaum’s fifth, is narrated by Kylie and her voice comes across as true and authentic. The use of the present tense gives the narration a sense of immediacy and the reader experiences the events as happening in real time. The characters are interesting and the author is successful in portraying Kylie’s great love for Aliza and how deeply responsible she feels for her well-being. Fehlbaum also succeeds in portraying the protagonist’s trauma and her resulting doubts about self-worth, her guilt and the memory of her sexual abuse well, without relying on any direct delineation of the sexual assault, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the tale.
Fehlbaum handles issues of trauma and healing with sensitivity, and the novel’s humanity and insightfulness do not come at the expense of narrative momentum. The pacing, in fact, is taut and brisk, and will keep readers turning the pages, eager to see Kylie’s life of hard choices build to some much-deserved peace. One incident involving Kylie’s uncle using her help to nab student drug peddlers strains credulity, as it puts her in danger again, but this incident doesn’t mar the overall story or its impact. Readers will find this tale of deep sisterly love and human resilience a heart-warming and inspiring read.
Takeaway: A heart-warming and inspiring tale of sisterly love and resilience.
Great for fans of: Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Patricia McCormick’s Sold.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A