The accidental death of a young child touches the lives of others in ways they never expected.
When 5-year-old Humphrey dies while in the charge of his 15-year-old baby sitter, Danielle, she wants nothing more than to quietly mourn the loss. However, when the police discover that the driver of the car that struck Humphrey is an illegal alien, Danielle quickly realizes that there are those who would use the tragedy to forward their own agendas. City politics and an immigration debate soon dwarf Humphrey’s death. Only Justin, a new friend, seems to understand her desire to honor the little boy’s memory. But Justin bears a secret that threatens to change everything. Chapters highlighting Danielle’s memories of her precocious charge are interspersed with those cataloging the events following his death. Levy’s unflinching look at pain is masterful. The narrative fluidly moves from lighter moments with Humphrey to the darkness of grief, avoiding false sentimentality. Genuine characters, complicated relationships and realistic dialogue will ease readers through the difficult journey. Unfortunately, Danielle and Humphrey’s story is overtaken by social commentary. The debate over immigration policies steals the stage, leaching the tale of its emotional impact.
This poignant novel loses its way. (Fiction. 12 & up)