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AFTER THE WRECK, I PICKED MYSELF UP, SPREAD MY WINGS, AND FLEW AWAY by Joyce Carol Oates

AFTER THE WRECK, I PICKED MYSELF UP, SPREAD MY WINGS, AND FLEW AWAY

By Joyce Carol Oates

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-073525-2
Publisher: HarperTempest

Oates’s most recent foray into YA fiction won’t disappoint fans of her teen writing, especially those who loved Big Mouth and Ugly Girl (2003). After surviving a car accident in which her mother dies, 15-year-old Jenna refuses her father’s offer to live with him, choosing instead to live with her aunt and uncle. Although she recovers from her extensive physical injuries, Jenna still must cope with Post-traumatic stress–like symptoms. As many teens under severe emotional stress are apt to do, Jenna makes friends with the wrong crowd, and then dabbles with drugs. Her risky behaviors eventually draw her into an extremely dangerous situation from which she narrowly escapes. Throughout the story, Jenna finds herself inexplicably drawn to Crow, a mysterious boy with a haunted past of his own, causing readers to hope that he will be the key to her recovery. Oates’s variation on a stream-of-consciousness style is appropriate for the voice of a character who spends so much time in her own head, but the ending is wrapped up a bit too simply considering all of Jenna’s issues. (Fiction. YA)