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FAR FROM YOU by Lisa Schroeder


by Lisa Schroeder

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7506-9
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Genuine emotion balances unremarkable verse in this tale of healing. Alice is bitter over her mother’s death from cancer years ago and her father’s ongoing emotional distance. A stepmother and newborn half sister render Alice both scornful and jealous. Soon she’s estranged from church and also from her best friend, who finds Ali’s song lyrics too gloomy. Readers may simultaneously sympathize with Alice’s ceaseless grief and wish she could do more than whimper about it, but nothing shifts until the family (minus dad) is stranded in the snow. Four days in a snowbound car, first with her stepmother and then alone with tiny baby Ivy, slowly reopen Ali’s heart. The first-person verse is sometimes quite plain (“After church / we went out / for doughnuts / and coffee”), sometimes clichéd and heavy-handed like a real teen diary (“Like the North Star, / ever present in the sky, / regret shines brightly / in my soul”). Despite the sense that Schroeder leans too heavily on line breaks for drama, the accessibility and heartache will attract many readers. (Fiction. YA)