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THE EYES OF VAN GOGH by Cathryn Clinton


by Cathryn Clinton

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2245-9
Publisher: Candlewick

Hypersensitive, melancholy Jude (as in, “Hey, Jude,” her favorite song) is at her ninth new school in 13 years as a result of her mother’s wanderlust and bad luck with boyfriends. Home, which in the past has included Memphis and Miami, is now Ellenville, Pa., where Jude’s grandmother is in a nursing home after a stroke. While writing a report on Van Gogh for her art class, Jude begins to draw parallels between the artist’s depressed life and her own. Despite making friends and dating a football player with plans to run his family’s farm one day, Jude cannot stop thinking that her life will never be the way she wants it to be. Her depressive thoughts lead her to a semi-thwarted suicide attempt, and when she comes out of her coma, she decides to take charge of her life. Even though Jude may have wisdom beyond her years, her theatrical dialogue often makes her sound 40 rather than 16. Peripheral characters are not free from this curse, either. There are many life-altering moments for Jude, including her grandmother’s death, her mother’s abandonment and the revelation of some very dark family secrets, but they are all treated superficially. Unlikely to be popular among teens. (Fiction. YA)