From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 7 Up—Stable and stoic Elena is a high school freshman when her beloved older sister, Dora, is hospitalized for depression. Elena takes it upon herself to look after her sibling when she comes home, while Dora and, ultimately, the entire family fall to pieces. In the end, Elena, with the help of her friend Jimmy Zenk, comes to realize that she alone can't make her better and that Dora has to help herself. With few words, characters are expertly fleshed out. For example, telling details reveal Elena's personality: "Matching socks was generally acknowledged to be my specialty." Schumacher eloquently describes the devastating effect that depression can have on a family. The writing is spare, direct, and honest. Written in the first person, this is a readable, ultimately uplifting book about a difficult subject.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
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*Starred Review* Elena and her older sister Dora are opposites—Elena is quiet and stoic; Dora is funny and unpredictable—but they are still best friends. After Dora is hospitalized for depression, Elena can’t understand why she didn’t confide in her. While her parents spend their nights arguing, Elena does her best to deal, finally striking up a quirky relationship with the school bad boy, Jimmy, who says his older brother went through the same thing. Dora returns from the hospital a different person, one who skips class, hoards her pills, and lies to her parents. Elena can’t reconcile this new sister with the one she’s always known, especially when glimpses of the old Dora surface, but she’s determined to save her, even if that means taking responsibility for Dora upon herself. Schumacher beautifully conveys Elena’s loneliness and guilt as she tries to protect her sister without betraying her, as well as the emotional release she experiences upon finding someone to trust with her own feelings. The spare prose is loaded with small, revealing details of the relationships that surround Elena and how they change through Dora’s illness. This novel is a quick read, but it will leave a lasting and ultimately hopeful impression. Grades 9-12. --Krista Hutley