ALISON, WHO WENT AWAY by Vivian Vande Velde

ALISON, WHO WENT AWAY

Age Range: 12 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Susan—who now wants people to call her Sibyl—is 14 and fiercely angry. Readers find out right away that her sister Alison is gone, but not where, or why, although it is clear that the rest of the family is deeply wounded. As the story unfolds, Susan/Sibyl tries out for the drama club at the local boys' school—she and her friend Connie are thinking stage crew, but both end up in the cast. As daily life grinds on, readers meet Susan's troubled kid brother, her gentle stepfather, her gay dad, and her tightly wound mom. Susan is bitter and guilty and pushes hard against all of those who reach out to her, and we learn, in wrung-out bits, what Alison did and what she said and how she's probably dead. The denouement, which comes in a seriocomic run to a funeral parlor the night of the eighth-grade dance, feels a little forced, but the unfolding of Susan's family's anguish is done at just the right pace, with each shard of emotion placed precisely. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-04585-6
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001




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