From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Since her family's move to the East Coast from California, Sadie has tried to fit in and have everyone think she's normal, which is something that outcast Fryin' Ryan of the weird T-shirts is definitely not buying. Ollie, Sadie's twin brother who died four years earlier, keeps appearing, and it's so hard not to talk to him. Sketching and drawing are her real love, but Sadie does well in academics too, using her competence to make friends with Lila, who sets the guidelines for cool at Pioneer High. Good-looking football star Travis seems to be paying attention, and Sadie is sure that if she can just keep her act together she'll have it all. Characters of every age come to life with vivid descriptions and dialogue that make this spare mood piece work. The pain of the parents who want to overprotect their last child, the friendly principal, Lila's mother's cryptic style that never masks her suffering, the sleazy coach who teaches driver's ed, and even deadpan Lila's uncharacteristic emotional outburst all fuel the fugue that is Sadie's gradual connection to what truly matters to her.—Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO
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MacCullough's third novel is narrated by 16-year-old Sadie, a painter who has drawn the ocean every day since her twin, Ollie, was hit by a car four years earlier. The family never discusses Ollie's death, but he is not wholly dead to Sadie. He still visits and chats with her, although it's more a haunting than a relationship. Sadie has just moved to a new school, and after meeting the popular and daring Lila, she quickly gets drawn into the popular crowd with all its advantages: the parties, the beer, the pot, and the affection of the hot football player with the metaphorically resonant name Travis Hartshorn. But two things keep her from happiness: the painful memory of Ollie's death, and the briefcase-carrying, poetry-writing loner known in school as Fryin' Ryan. Ryan is a loser par excellence, but Sadie finds him absolutely fascinating. There are some overwrought passages here, but Sadie's narrative voice is absolutely authentic, and the story of her quirky, endearing relationship with Ryan is memorably poignant. John GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved