Books by jean-claude gotting

STOLEN WORDS by Amy Goldman Koss
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Five months after a tragic car accident kills an 11-year-old girl's favorite aunt, she and her family travel to Austria to get away from their grief. "I miss Aunt Beth with all my heart, but I miss my mom even more," Robyn confides to her new diary. Her old one, a present from Beth, her mother's sister, was stolen along with the rest of the family's luggage from a parked car in Vienna. But what was really stolen from Robyn is not her suitcase or even the words in her diary, but her happy interaction with her family, especially her mother. Since the loss of Aunt Beth, Robyn's mother, once a lively woman with a bold "crazy-bird laugh," has sunk into a distracted depression. Told with sensitivity and wit in a perfectly pitched preadolescent voice, Robyn's diary chronicles her mother's incremental up-and-down progress and her own increasing frustration and attendant guilt. "Maybe I'm a rotten niece . . . but I feel like shouting, ‘C'mon, Mom, get over it already!' " she confides to her diary. And just when the reader feels like shouting along with her, a minor accident in an ice cave, a popular tourist attraction, causes Robyn's mother to snap out of her lethargy, helping a group of frightened, mostly elderly Japanese visitors climb to safety. Even though the subject is sad, the overriding message of the book—despite crushing loss life does continue—is a hopeful one and Koss leavens the mood with her protagonist's amusing and astute observations. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >