PRAYING TO A.L. by Judith Caseley

PRAYING TO A.L.

Age Range: 11 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sierra’s father has been sick for a long time, but his death still hits her, and her family, hard. Her mother is moody, her brother seems not to notice anything has happened, and, though friends open up to Sierra with their memories of her dad, the 13-year-old can visit her own memories safely only by speaking to the photograph of Abraham Lincoln she keeps in her room. She knows a lot about “A.L.’s” life and childhood, and compares his hardships and peculiarities to her own. While this allows for a little American history and an interesting perspective on Sierra's interracial Jewish/Cuban family history, it is a weak device. As a result, the first third of the narrative meanders until the emergence of Sierra’s long-time best friend, Eli, as a pivotal character. As their relationship shifts, Sierra's family grows into a new unit—scarred, but healthy. As in her other novels (Losing Louisa, 1999, etc.), Caseley's characters are interesting and fully realized—flawed, but sympathetic—and readers can enjoy this as a middle-school novel as well as a story about grief. Though slow to start, it’s a satisfying read. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-15934-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2000




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