A teenage girl comes to terms with her sister’s secret past and her own spirituality in this sophomore title by the author of All Unquiet Things (2010).
Eight years ago, 16-year-old Caro’s older sister Hannah left home to join a convent, and Caro hasn’t had much of a relationship with her or God since. “[After] Hannah left, God stayed up in the attic, like the toys and old clothes I’d outgrown that my mother couldn’t bring herself to part with.” But now, Hannah is coming home after telling the Sisters of Grace that she is renouncing her vows, and Caro couldn’t be more angry and confused. She lies to her friends and new boyfriend about Hannah’s prolonged absence and fights with her parents constantly. It is only after she understands the tragic reason why Hannah is so sad and withdrawn that she begins to open up to the idea of making a new connection with her sister. Though the author takes many, many pages to reveal Hannah’s secret, it is time well-spent, providing nuanced characterizations of not only conflicted Caro, but of her troubled parents and her kindly, philosophical priest, Father Bob. It’s a rare teen novel that both tackles religion and creates fully realized adult characters, and Jarzab handles it all gracefully.
A layered meditation on family and belief that will ring true for faith-questing teens. (Fiction. 12 & up)