A girl copes with the death of her beloved brother Zach, and the devastation it has wrought on her family.
London clearly has sunk into despair. She goes to school but doesn’t interact with her friends. At home, her mother refuses to speak with her at all, eventually becoming openly hostile to her. Her father does his best to hold the family together on his own, but he has his own limits. London does find herself strongly attracted to Jesse, a new boy in school, but he’s in a relationship with London’s former best friend. Another new student, Lili, manages to penetrate London’s mental fog with her inexhaustible energy, apparently on a mission to make London her friend. London finds herself caught between the old and the new as she delves ever more deeply into the chaos that her brother’s death has caused. Williams, as always, keeps her prose, this time arranged on the page as prose poems, sensitive, intelligent and completely absorbing. She slowly peels back the veils on London’s, her father’s and her mother’s psychology, eventually revealing the strong and the weak and, ultimately, how Zach died. The family she depicts are former missionaries, giving the book strong spiritual undertones that should appeal to religious as well as general audiences.
Exceptional. (Fiction. 12 & up)