SUN SIGNS by Shelley Hrdlitschka


Age Range: 14 & up
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This accessible epistolary (e-mail) novel chronicles a project for a long-distance learning class. Homebound with cancer, 15-year-old Kaleigh begins a science report about astrology. Three “distant study buddies” whom she’s never met agree to be her Leo subjects and report whether their horoscope from Kaleigh’s favorite Web site is accurate each day. Only one tells Kaleigh the complete truth about personal details and horoscope; in turn, she doesn’t mention her cancer. Isolation and the unreliability of online communication are Hrdlitschka’s blatant themes, but other themes subtly join in. Kaleigh’s enthusiasm wanes in the face of exhaustion from radiation treatment. Because her actual prognosis doesn’t change, this addresses not only the effects of a life-threatening illness but also the effects of simply feeling sick. E-mails to her teacher and letters to her (immortal) Gemini twin are honest and eventually the other relationships are hashed out. The AOL-speak and a few ending details ring false, but Kaleigh’s emotionally genuine all the way. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2005
ISBN: 1-55143-388-5
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2005