WALKING BACKWARD by Catherine Austen


Age Range: 9 - 12
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When his mother dies in a car crash, 12-year-old Josh realizes she had been the gravity that held family members in place. Now they are planets flying apart from each other through emptiness. His father avoids being a parent and spends his time building a time machine to go back and prevent his wife from getting in the car. Josh’s little brother, Sammy, talks to his Power Ranger as if it’s his mother, and Josh ponders mourning rituals of different faiths, trying to make sense of a world without his mother. In this impressive debut novel, Josh keeps a journal to chart his feelings and thoughts, allowing readers to follow his journey from sadness to acceptance and the eventual return of cohesion in his family. Given the subject matter, the story is never maudlin, and Josh’s voice rings natural and true. An elegantly crafted volume of lasting power. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55469-147-0
Page count: 170pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2009


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