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by Jillian Cantor

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-168648-1
Publisher: Laura Geringer/HarperCollins

Abigail and her younger sister Becky seem to live in a ’50s sitcom, until Becky disappears. Their typical sibling rivalry comes under painful scrutiny, as do all the adults in the house and even in the neighborhood, with the possible exception of Mrs. Ramirez, who becomes the designated supervisor as the girls’ mother fails to cope. Somewhat incomprehensibly, Abigail becomes an outcast at school but gradually finds comfort with Tommy, Mrs. Ramirez’s grandson, who must cope with his own family failures. Although the setting is evidently modern, no one has cell phones or computers, with the result that the narrative seems to be a memoir or historical fiction. Mrs. Ramirez’s use of a shortcut English and other comments about her heritage seem stereotypical. However, there is a visceral feel to Abigail’s observations and her need to find a solution to an unbearably awful event that only ends after two years of pain. Those with a fondness for problem novels will find the interminable details more satisfying than the banal resolution. (Fiction. YA)