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CHASING ORION by Kathryn Lasky Kirkus Star

CHASING ORION

By Kathryn Lasky

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3982-2
Publisher: Candlewick

It seems unfair to 11-year-old Georgie Mason that in Indiana’s summer heat she can’t go swimming or even to the movies for fear of catching polio. It is “simply and horribly unbelievable,” however, that her teenage neighbor Phyllis is living in an iron lung, viewing the world through mirrors like Tennyson’s tower-bound Lady of Shalott. Georgie’s struggle with the cosmic implications of her neighbor’s plight—and her rising fear that Phyllis might be seducing her brother Emmett into helping her die—form the core of this gut-punching, often very funny novel that asks serious questions about our corporeal selves, faith, power, alienation, euthanasia and, it being 1952, the relative importance of saddle shoes. Lasky creates an unusually credible, likable 11-year-old voice and expertly maps Georgie’s emotional terrain, a rich landscape shaped by literature and peppered with sound bites such as “I was very malaised” and “I like reasons for stuff.” A truly extraordinary page-turner that embraces life’s big and small aspects with humor and a healthy respect for its profound contradictions. (Historical fiction. 11 & up)