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GRACE ABOVE ALL by Jane St. Anthony


by Jane St. Anthony

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 7th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-374-39940-5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Not a lot happens in this gently flowing, atmospheric, slice-of-life companion to The Summer Sherman Loved Me (2006), which is to say the story, about a family vacationing in a lakeside cabin, is small. But the characters—perfectly etched with an uncommon specificity and generosity of heart—are more than ample. And St. Anthony has the gift of writing child characters that think and behave like actual children, rather than glib little people filtered through an adult sensibility. The narrative centers on 13-year-old Grace, a fierce, prickly and resourceful child, whose deep sense of responsibility coexists inharmoniously with her rage at her mother for having to be responsible at all. This is because Bernadette, Grace’s pretty, constantly smoking mother, is so indolent and lackadaisical that Grace has assumed the burden of caring for her younger siblings. As the vacation rolls on, Grace has a nascent romance with the boy next door. She meets and is initially horrified by some strange relatives, but a neighbor gives her a new perspective on them, a lens for seeing her own family with more affectionate and compassionate eyes. (Fiction. 10-14)