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by Susan Katz

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-689-81391-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A first novel suffused with tenderness and sorrow, about the family of a boy who dies. Johanna, who is nine, can still hear the voice of her little brother, Johnny, but the rest of the family cannot bear to speak of him anymore. Johnny’s twin, Susie, hasn’t spoken at all since two days after Christmas, when he was killed by a car in front of their house. Josie deeply misses not only her brother, but Susie’s dimples, her mother’s trilling laugh, and her father’s antics. She is relieved when elderly Cousin Ruth, 82, comes to live next door, with her old gramophone, her silly talk, and her way of seeing inside a person. Josie—coping with school, a bully, and an overstrict teacher, strengthened by her loving best friend Kathleen and Ruth’s counsel—and her parents slowly return to themselves and each other. Josie knows how much there is to remember even of a small child: how Johnny never combed his hair, how much he loved flowers, how he and Susie learned to dance the waltz. While hoping for Susie to speak again, Josie learns to heed the voice of Johnny in her heart. Emotionally wrenching without sentimentality, the four-hanky climax will leave readers sad yet reassured in immeasurable ways. (Fiction. 8- 12)