THE OTHER SHEPARDS by Adele Griffin

THE OTHER SHEPARDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Griffin (Sons of Liberty, 1997, etc.) peeks into the lives of two sisters, eighth-grader Holland and sixth-grader Geneva Shepard, who live in the shadow of three older siblings killed 18 years ago--before Holland and Geneva were born. The girls are haunted by these siblings through their parents' emotionally crippled behavior and the legendary status of the tragedy in their New York City community. Holland and obsessive-compulsive Geneva literally confront these ghosts when Annie appears in their lives; wearier every time the girls see her, she is ostensibly a muralist and guardian angel of sorts, guiding the girls to find their paths apart from the family tragedy. Annie's identity and the direction of the plot are obvious; the premise is haunting and poetic, but is squandered in Holland's fairly conventional blossoming relationship with a boy and Geneva's neuroses. The awkwardness of Holland's narration is compelling at first; she and Geneva act more like tenants in their parents' lives than beloved members of a family. Then a more pretentious tone emerges: ""They will continue to meet in the twilight kingdom of their dining room, and their grief is a feast of pain I can not touch."" A brighter fate for the girls is promised, but whether this devastated family has a real happy ending isn't answered in these pages.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 218pp
Publisher: Hyperion