A sad and sweet story about coming to terms with loss.
When his twin sister, Grace, is killed in a car accident, gifted 17-year-old musician Mark is cut adrift. In an honest and contemplative first-person narrative that picks up a few months after her death, Mark tries to figure out how to function again in a world that no longer includes his other half. The relationships that remain—with his estranged mother, his beautiful neighbor, his quirky classmates at the arts magnet school he attends—are sorely tested by his tendency to emotionally shape-shift between ghost and porcupine, but they offer opportunities for him to practice processing his grief with the same persistence and concentration he brings to practicing his bass guitar. There can be no tidy Brady Bunch ending for Mark; his twin will always be missing, and the best he can hope for is to get himself “[o]n [the] way to happy.” But inspired by a list of things Grace had hoped to accomplish during their senior year, he ventures out of his introspection to take a few risks and start living again, and in so doing, he achieves a measure of peace. Mark’s ethnic identity—he and his family are Filipino—provides cultural texture for the tale.
Readers need not have lost someone dear to appreciate Mark’s odyssey, as Arcos’ compelling and likable characters will draw them in. (Fiction. 12-18)