In a riveting exploration of the human psyche, her debut for teens, best-selling author Wolitzer offers a story about what it means to lose someone, or something, you love. Twice.
Jam Gallahue is sent to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for emotionally fragile teens, when she fails to recover from her boyfriend’s death. At first, she can’t fathom how the school will help her. All she wants to do is stay in bed and remember the 41 days she and Reeve shared. One class, “Special Topics in English,” offers her a way to experience those moments in a whole new way—by writing in a particular journal and slipping into a surreal alternate reality. She and the four other members of the class are both thrilled at the opportunity to revel in their old lives and anxious that when the journals fill up, they have to say goodbye all over again. Will the final page be healing or just as terrible as the first loss? Wolitzer’s teenage characters are invigorated, flawed, emotionally real and intensely interesting. Even as readers fold back the layers of the story and discover unexpected truths and tragedies, the plot maintains an integrity that has come to be hallmark of Wolitzer’s novels. In-depth references to Sylvia Plath add highlights to an already robust text.
An enticing blend of tragedy, poetry, surrealism and redemption. (Magical realism. 12-16)