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ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN by Jacquelyn Mitchard


by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-134578-4
Publisher: HarperTeen

Mitchard tugs at readers’ hearts with a teen novel about death, a stunning miracle and love lost then gained. Best friends Bridget Flannery and Maureen O’Malley are in a horrific car crash. One of the girls is dead. The O’Malley family is told it was Maureen and they bury their “daughter.” The other girl lingers in a life-threatening coma and is thought to be Bridget. Because they had the same height and hair color, hospital workers have innocently switched the victims’ identities. When the actual Maureen emerges from her coma six weeks later, grief and joy explode for both families. Patterned after the true 2006 incident of Whitney Cerak and Laura VanRyn, Mitchard’s work has the markings of a page-turning tear-jerker. However, after a riveting opening 80 pages, the story begins to flatline. Too much of the novel’s plot is spent on Bridget’s former boyfriend, Danny Carmody, who switches his interest from a dead to a living girl by dating Maureen. The depiction of two families dealing with survivor guilt is this story’s strength. (Fiction. YA)