Cancer invades a family, but their own strong ties and those of their artistic community provide them with hope and much-needed assistance.
It’s the first day of school for seventh-grader Laughter—who prefers to be called El—at the same private arts academy in Greenwich Village her parents attended. She is excited about the coming year until she learns from her father that her 6-year-old sister, Echo, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. El’s family is close-knit and loving, but that doesn’t protect either sister. El’s reaction to the cancer is visceral: “And her tumor is growing. I can practically hear it.” She goes through periods of denial, anger, and grief. Fortunately, the family stays resilient and adopts a motto— “ALL FOR ONE—AND ALL FOUR ONE”—to maintain their focus. Their financial woes are offset by an incredible outpouring of support from the local artistic community and the school. El’s friends, both old and new, also join in the efforts. Mosier tells El’s story in a first-person narrative that makes it more immediate and heartfelt. The diagnosis, treatment, and outlook for the cancer are explained well and integrated into the narrative. Race and ethnicity are not a factor in the story; they default to white. There is, however, one gratuitous mention of a mother and daughter who “have beautiful coffee-colored skin.”
Ultimately positive and uplifting, but readers should keep a box of tissues nearby. (Fiction. 9-12)