LOOSE THREADS by Lorie Ann Grover


Age Range: 10 - 13
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Seventh-grader Kay finds out more than she ever wanted to know about breast cancer in Grover’s first effort, a fine entry in the emerging novel-in-verse subgenre. In a free-verse chronicle of several months, the author introduces readers to a four-generation household of strong female characters: Kay, who is struggling with adjustment to junior high, her perfectionist accountant mother, her warm and loving Grandma Margie, and her Great-Gran Eula, another perfectionist who owns the Florida home where the women live. The first-person poems from Kay’s perspective follow Grandma Margie’s crisis from the initial discovery of a lump through biopsy, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and then through the final weeks until her death. The last poems deal with the funeral, with Kay’s anger at her grandmother’s death, and with the reactions of the three surviving women as they begin to cope with the death and with their changed family dynamics. Other poems show Kay’s growing maturity in coping with social issues in junior high and her questioning of her religious faith, juxtaposed with Grandma Margie’s unshakable faith. Many painful topics are addressed frankly: mastectomy, breast prostheses, the side effects of chemotherapy, and potential links between insecticides and breast cancer. The use of the poetic format allows short, distilled views of Kay’s world, while still offering all the character and plot development intrinsic to a novel for young adults. This compelling debut may offend some with its frankness, but many others will take it to heart for its many strengths. (author’s note, Web sites, bibliography) (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84419-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2002


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