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Alicia Afterimage Hardcover – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; 1st edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600602428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600602429
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,487,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Delacre has dedicated this slim volume to "all grieving teens," and while it is published as a work of fiction, the author's note explains that her 16-year-old daughter did, in fact, die in a car accident in 2004. She relates how her mourning process involved interviewing many of Alicia's friends about their relationship with the pint-sized, exuberant Puerto Rican American. Resources on teen grief and teen-driver safety, as well as a photo of Alicia, are appended. Though the point of view shifts from chapter to chapter, the narrative begins and ends with Alicia's mother, starting with the fateful night of the teen's date with a boy who speeds, loses control, and crashes into a telephone pole, killing her instantly. The chapters that focus on her friends, including the driver who survives the crash, don't provide any kind of cohesive narrative, reporting instead memories and events that form a two-dimensional portrait of Alicia: a perfect angel of a daughter, a true and fun-loving friend, a gifted dancer, and someone who always gave more than she took. Throughout the book, faint line sketches appear like shadows beneath the text. While reading the 13 nearly indistinguishable teen accounts of Alicia might be good bibliotherapy for those who have suffered a loss, this afterimage turns into an overexposure of pain that appeals to a sense of pathos without providing satisfaction as fiction.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Delacre’s beloved 16-year-old daughter died in a car crash four years ago. In her first novel, the picture-book artist has fictionalized the words of 13 of Alicia’s real-life friends and family members, who talk about their grief and anger in a series of terse, third-person accounts. The spare interior monologues create a vivid collage portrait of the dynamic teen. The friends speak about how they met her and what they did together, from text-messaging to dancing, as well as the mementos they have of her mischief and loving support. The memories are of both small moments and big events, such as Alicia’s quinceañera. Mamá feels guilt (how does a parent balance freedom and protection?), and also anger at “The Driver,” a teen date who is never named and whose recklessness caused the crash. Every view of Alicia is perfect (“there isn’t anyone who doesn’t like her”), but idealization is part of the grieving process. With its messages about healing and a list of appended resources, this is an excellent title for grief counseling. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman

More About the Author


Lulu Delacre

Three-time Pura Belpré Award honoree Lulu Delacre has been writing and illustrating children's books since 1980. Born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinean parents, Delacre says her Latino heritage and her life experiences inform her work.

Her 34 titles include Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America, a Horn Book Fanfare Book in print for nearly 25 years; and Salsa Stories, an IRA Outstanding International Book. Her newest work, How Far Do You Love Me?, has been twice reviewed as having the emotional resonance of the children's classic, The Runaway Bunny.

Delacre has lectured internationally; served as a juror for the National Book Awards; and exhibited at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art among other venues. More at www.luludelacre.com.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Thank you Lulu for creating such a beautiful work.
Cameron L. Hanson
This book is a special gift to help all understand the way grief affects a person that has experienced the loss of a loved one.
J. Ramirez
I feel like they can all learn a lot from this memoir.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Emily J. Wilberg on January 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is primarily a book for teens about teens grieving the death of their friend. I could see how the process (the interviews and writing of it) would be healing for Alicia's family, friends, and classmates at school. It is written in 3rd person, which makes the mother seem a little detached, but it also makes for a kind of separation which is probably easier for a grieving teen to read and deal with. A book like this would have been very helpful for my teenage friends and I when we found out a week after graduation our friend Scott Boland had been killed in a car accident. I remember acutely the pain and confusion we felt. And how going to his funeral was the saddest thing I had ever had to do in my 17 years of living.

As I read through the book I noticed that many similar themes with those of us dealing with the death of a smaller child. Seeing or hearing messages from our lost loved ones. Anger- and I was very curious how that would be resolved as to the driver of the car, who was a student at the same school. Not being able to say goodbye. Time too short with our child

And then I came to the final chapter, the perspective of Mama. And was struck once again with the fact that the death of a child is the worst thing a mother can go through. No matter what age the child. And I felt I related to the changes the mother describes.

"She had gone through an event that shattered life as she had known it, and her priorites had shifted...She was no longer afraid of being hurt, for there could not possibly be any pain depper than that of losing a child. Her empathy grew..."

"In time Mama began to recognize the signs of a spiritual connection to Alicia- a ladybug in the most unlikely of places...And more vivid dreams.
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Format: Hardcover
Alicia Afterimage sat next to my bed for a bit before I finally cracked it open. I'm not sure if I was avoiding becoming emotional or that I thought the stories would open deeper pains. I did indeed cry, but they were predominantly tears of joy in celebration of Alicia's marvelous life. For the chapters on people I know, their story resonated with me the most. I could picture exactly the bouncing ladybug dilly boppers in Baltimore, Alicia & Vicky's daily search for poptarts, and Alicia's expressive face that shared sympathy, excitement, and truth all wrapped into one. Although I could not fully relate to the stories of her other friends, I found comfort in knowing that other people experienced Alicia the way I did: full of love, heart, energy, and joie de vivre. She was gifted with the sincere ability to befriend all types of people and to add a unique spark to each of their lives. Her homemade cards and talent of listening was bestowed on all. The book provided me with a heartfelt snapshot into Alicia's multiplying effect of compassion on this world. No matter the social niche someone fit into, Alicia was there with a genuine smile. Thank you Lulu for creating such a beautiful work. You meld humor with sadness, joy with pain, and the result is a retrospective not only on God's great gift of Alicia, but a truthful narrative on teenage suffering. You did not shy away from the pain of Alicia's death, but you proved that celebration of her life and cherishing of our memories with her is one way that we can grieve. We cannot repress our emotions, rather in sharing them we can come closer together and ease the agony of Alicia's loss.
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By J. Ramirez on December 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have other books written by the author and read this fictional account to the loss of Alicia was suggested as a way to deal with the loss of my father. As I read each account of the various friends, what was quite apparent was the beauty of Alicia's soul. She affected the lives of those around her in such a positive and loving way, which is why her passing is a tragic loss.

As parents, we give our children the character, morals, values and ethics wrapped in love to be great assets to this world as we raise them. What Alicia's parents gave her made her a "gift" to those that were honored to know her. What Mrs. Delacre and Dr. Betancourt experienced by losing their precious daughter is something that can never fully be understood or accepted. Mrs. Delacre did a wonderful job putting together a fictional account of how those that knew Alicia felt being apart of her life and how her passing affected them. This book is a beautiful tribute to a child...made of love, who lived each day of her life with love and was happy sharing her love with the world. Alicia was a precious child whose life here on Earth left all wanting more.

This book is a special gift to help all understand the way grief affects a person that has experienced the loss of a loved one. Whether the loss was due to an illness or a tragic accident, this book puts grief into perspective because grief affects people differently as they try to justify the loss in their minds. This book lets the reader know that "sadness, pain, anger, the incessant crying, as well as the numbness" are all steps needed for HEALING.
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Format: Hardcover
A moving story and a great resource for teenagers, Alicia Afterimage is a fictionalized account of the death of 16-year-old Alicia Betancourt, who was killed in a car crash. The book chronicles the reactions of her friends and family to this tragedy; each chapter is told from a different point of view and reflects on a different aspect of grief, loss, and healing. The author, Lulu Delacre, has written and illustrated dozens of books for children, and her understanding of the interests and needs of young people is evident throughout this book. Teenagers look for books that reflect their own experiences, and this true story will hit home for any teen who has ever faced the death of someone close, particularly the death of a friend. Counselors, teachers, and parents might also encourage young readers to make use of the detailed resource list in the back of the book. It contains useful books, organizations, and web sites on teen grief and teen driver safety. This book is many things--a moving tribute to a beloved daughter and friend; an exploration of grief; and a useful resource for grieving teens. It is also a quick and interesting read (the chapter told from the point of view of the driver is particularly powerful). Highly recommended for teens.
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