Matt leaves a swim meet, happy with his performance, to drive home on a snowy road with his mother and sister.  On the way their car is hit by a drunk driver who swerves out of his lane.  His mother is killed instantly, his sister badly injured.  When he has received treatment in the hospital for an injured shoulder, his best friend’s family comes to pick him up.  He isn’t allowed to see his sister for days, and when he finally does, she looks lifeless and unfamiliar, tubed up in the ICU.  At home with his friend Jamie, he remembers a time when he and his sister rescued a robin, only to see it die.  The story traces the days and weeks following Matt’s loss—his mother’s funeral, his friend’s family’s decision to adopt him, and eventually his sister’s death.  Despite his struggle with grief, anger, and bewilderment, Matt also has times of hope and pleasure in his new relationship to a family he already loved.  Readjusting to school is one of the many challenges he faces.  When he does return to school, he finds himself and his perspective changed, and realizes loss has grown him up in unexpected ways.


Though the focus of this story remains fixed on one boy’s profound loss and grief, it is not unrelieved.  It moves readers through various layers of Matt’s experience, detailing his own inward process more than on those of the adults around him, and on important moments of adjustment to loss.  The simple plotline maintains the focus on the emotional and social challenges of loss from a child’s point of view.  Professional caregivers’ characters and roles are less developed than those of the friend’s parents who adopt him; the book is not as much about the medical experience as about Matt’s longer-term learning through loss about both independence and interdependence.  Accessible treatment of difficult material for young adults. 


iUniverse: AuthorsGuild Backprint edition



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