An appealing first novel—brisk, witty, affecting—involving a teenager's experience with an older sister's death from leukemia. Meg Chalmers is a plucky thirteen-year-old, tongue-in-cheek and heart-on-sleeve, exploring her feelings with a careful balance of insight and insecurity. Recently relocated to an old country house so Dad can finish his book, she suffers familiar resentments—a shared room with sister Molly, fifteen and pretty—but enjoys photography and a rare trio of neighbors, all older and understanding. Individual personalities are established, integrated, and then tested when a worrisome development surfaces; Molly requires hospitalization and extensive treatment, and Meg realizes she is losing more than a sparring partner. Meg's natural candor and muffled humor are encouraged by the neighbors—a seventy-ish gent who shares his camera and vitality, and an oddball, loving couple whose baby's birth (with Meg as house photographer) acids more than a pat "new life" contrast to Molly's approaching death. An attractive, laconic heroine in an upbeat presentation of a most difficult subject.
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