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IRISES by Francisco X. Stork


by Francisco X. Stork

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-15135-1
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Two sisters in El Paso face weighty decisions following their father's sudden death.

Mary has struggled with her artistic talent since an accident left their mother in a vegetative state. Kate secretly dreams of going to Stanford to become a doctor. Neither can see an escape from the burden of their mother's constant physical needs. Nor can they see each other’s perspective, a reality underscored by the third-person narrative that alternates points of view. Kate's boyfriend proposes to her, offering a way out of their financial difficulties, but she’s afraid that accepting means giving up her dream. Mary is attuned to a life of faith, like their minister father, and believes that their mother will wake up someday. Kate finds it easier to accept that their mother's life is already gone, and she is the first to recognize that withdrawing life support is an option. Stork never shies away from allowing his teenage characters to deal with tough philosophical issues. His flawed supporting cast—an overzealous father, an imposing aunt, an ambitious young pastor who offers comfort to Kate and a seemingly rough boy who befriends Mary—allows the girls to sort through the complexities of human nature and come together to reach a decision regarding their mother.

At times the family dynamics and symbolism seem forced, but there is plenty of poignancy in questions of faith that are raised. (Fiction. 14 & up)