BUT THEN I CAME BACK by Estelle Laure
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 14 - 18
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Nursing a seriously bruised ego, out of sync with friends and family, Eden slipped, hit her head, and plunged into the icy river; in the coma that follows, she’s approached by a strange girl whose urgent message she’s unable to hear.

Unresolved issues slow Eden’s recovery. The white teen’s embittered by her humiliating epic fail in the class she took with Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet. The brown-skinned girl from her coma proves to be another hospital patient, Jasmine, still comatose, her only visitor a quiet, intense white boy named Joe. Through their shared interest in Jaz, Joe and Eden form a bond, at first halting and awkward, intensifying as their mutual attraction grows. Joe’s mother died when he was 8; he helps his florist dad and stepmother grow flowers, some sold at the hospital. Middle-class Eden has been free of domestic chores to pursue her interests. Joe and Jaz, a former foster child, have been friends for years. They’d been each other’s world; without her, he’s as off-balance as Eden is. Though Eden fears losing Joe, she’s as committed to reaching Jaz as he is. If what the coma signifies for Jasmine remains mysterious, for Eden, it’s a chrysalis. The protective cocoon may initiate rebirth—transformation is up to her. Her deliberate, almost meditative present-tense narration chronicling her metamorphosis is punctuated by excerpts from a book she reads about near-death experiences, anchoring readers to her existential journey.

Rendered with insight and compassion, Eden’s struggles to make peace with the human condition add up to a riveting coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-544-53126-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: HMH Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017


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