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WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY by Amanda Cockrell

WHAT WE KEEP IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT WILL STAY

By Amanda Cockrell

Pub Date: June 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7387-2615-1
Publisher: Flux

Tenth-grader Angie discovers that the world is a vastly complicated place.

First, the statue of St. Felix in the church basement she's been in the habit of confiding in seems to come to life. Her parents are at odds over her scriptwriter father's decision to use one of her mother's painful memories in his current project. And an Afghan War vet returns to her high school to get his diploma at age 19, minus a foot—or, maybe, that’s plus a mechanical limb. Ex-soldier Jesse seems lost and friendless, which appeals to Angie and her best friend Lily’s impulse to do good. Not fully aware of the impact his wartime experiences might have on him, Angie gradually finds herself in an uncomfortable relationship with this older boy. While the adults in her life urge caution, Angie is certain that Jesse is suffering from a disease, albeit a psychological one. She has to decide what she can and cannot do to help him. Also needing help is Felix, possibly a saint or maybe homeless. While the story is written with a light hand—particularly humorous scenes around a Las Posadas parade and a certain boy who is interested in what’s under her shirt—the plot takes an unexpectedly serious turn that readers may not be prepared for.

This entertaining, if slightly unfocused comic tragedy exploring moral obligation, innocence and guilt falls victim to a copout ending. (Fiction. 12 & up)