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Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things Hardcover – October 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596437367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596437364
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Claire and her father have recently moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, in the hope of starting a new life and putting the tragic events of the past behind them. Claire is grieving the death of her mother and the loss of her friend who went missing without a trace and is having trouble moving on. She finds comfort in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and senses her mother's presence in the Dickinson house museum, especially by putting on Emily's dress. When she is discovered wearing it, she is forced to run, leading to an adventure that helps her work through her grief, solve the mystery of her missing friend, and begin to look to the future. Written in first person, the story integrates the poetry of Emily Dickinson with the writings of the main character, which leads to a novel that is lyrical and refreshing in spite of the tragic events. Missing persons and suicide are dealt with in a delicate way, allowing readers to enjoy the action and suspense. Older, more advanced readers will appreciate the imagery, irony, and wit as well.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SDα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Claire thinks it is grotesque that Emily Dickinson’s dress is displayed at the poet’s homestead museum in Amherst. But she feels close to her deceased mother there, and she sneaks into the museum at night to write sparse lines, often reflecting on her mother’s suicide. Sometimes she even puts on the dress. Tate, a former student teacher of Claire’s who is attuned to her pain, interrupts her ritual one night, and when the alarm sounds, they flee with the dress. That’s how Tate begins acting as Claire’s protector—but he slowly and innocently grows to be much more as Claire shares with him what else is missing. Amherst is Claire’s second senior year, her first having been disrupted by her best friend Richy’s disappearance, for which Claire was a person of interest. It’s what is missing from this superb debut novel that makes it so rich. Like Dickinson’s poems, the first-person narration doesn’t worry about stage direction or backstory, preferring to highlight poignant moments that elicit emotion or deepen character, and challenging the reader to fill in the blanks and read between the lines of Claire’s writing, conversations, and musings. What remains at the end is a complete portrait of loss, longing, redemption, and love. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book is in a category all on it's own.
Amazon Customer
I also love the literary allusions which, presented through the lens of Claire, give the reader a whole new appreciation for Emily Dickinson.
vballmom
You've got the perfect mix of a rich, layered story, solid and unique characters, and a nice bit of mystery worked in.
SaMills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Sowa on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The first thing you notice about Claire is her proclivity for living inside her own head, almost to a fault. It has been tough the last two years with the loss of her mom and her best friend. Since the move to Amherst, Clare has taken refuge in Emily Dickinson's life and poetry as well as her own dark sense of humor. It is that darkness that draws the attention of a concerned student teacher which, in turn, triggers Claire to do something that seems a little crazy. The upheaval in Claire's life is mirrored in the story telling, which is unusual, but fits very well with Claire's personality and her view of the world around her. The story takes twists and turns quite a bit, but it does so without feeling disjointed or fractured. It's a book that is part emotional discovery, part mystery and part literary study.

A lot of what made this book such a wonderful read was Claire's first person narrative. The story is intertwined with bits of her poetry and it gives the reader a lot of insight into Claire's thoughts and feelings, which really pulled me into Claire's head. The pain and upheaval that Claire has experienced over the last few years has almost convinced her that Emily Dickinson had it right when she became a recluse I think that using Emily as a sort of touchstone for pain was a coping mechanism for Claire and one that was not only understandable, but very touching, as well. As Tate becomes involved in her life, and the with the issue of the dress, Claire seems to wake up to the fact that she is not as alone as she imagined. This part of the story was very well done because the deep friendship that develops between Claire and Tate does not overpower the rest of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Burak's teen reader on October 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was amazing, i was at her book launch and she signed my book. I'm her #1 teen reader, haha. But I recommend this book for 8th graders and high schoolers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Martin VINE VOICE on October 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was a wonderful, lyrical story about a girl dealing with grief and loss. Claire is struggling with her mother's suicide and then her best friend Richy goes missing. Her father moves her to Amherst where he is teaching at the college. Claire's mother loved poetry and when Claire visits Emily Dickinson's house she feels a closeness to her mother. She sneaks in frequently through a window that is left open just a little.

Claire is also dealing with a new school. She isn't normal or average and often misinterprets events because of her unique and poetic worldview. A student teacher named Sam Tate takes an interest in Claire because he is intrigued by her poetry and her world view. He is also afraid that she might be like his sister who committed suicide when she was fifteen. Claire doesn't know what to make of the relationship or if they really have a relationship.

Their lives get more and more intertwined when he sees her sneak into Emily Dickinson's house and sets off the alarms when he goes in too. They end up escaping with Claire wearing the dress of the title. Then they have to figure out how to get the dress back. Claire and Tate also work together to investigate what really happened to Richy on the night he disappeared.

Through these activities, Claire begins to heal and to get rid of some of the guilt she feels for being there when her mother committed suicide and for not meeting Richy on the night he disappeared. She also manages to connect to a new friend and forge a relationship with Tate.

The story is told from Claire's point of view. So we see her confusion and bewilderment as she tries to come to grips with events that would challenge anyone. The story is filled with wonderful descriptions of odd things that catch Claire's attention and bits of her poetry.

This story demands a reader who will slow down and take the journey with Claire. They will be richly rewarded in this story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eve Marie Mont on October 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in one sitting and found it beautiful and haunting. Claire is both prickly and compassionate, vulnerable and strong; I grew to love her as she navigated her way through grief, loneliness, and first love. Her darkly funny internal monologue added both levity and depth to the story, and Burak's writing is spare, elegant, and lyrical--a respectful tribute to Dickinson herself. This one is not to be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By vballmom on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm a middle- and high-school English teacher, and my students are loving this novel! Its relationships feel beautifully and painfully authentic, which always resonates with adolescents.

I also love the literary allusions which, presented through the lens of Claire, give the reader a whole new appreciation for Emily Dickinson. Thank you, Ms. Burak, for making poetry relevant to today's teens!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By violet on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
EMILY'S DRESS AND OTHER MISSING THINGS is a contemporary mystery that weaves together a fast paced plot with beautiful, lyrical prose that would make Emily Dickinson proud. High school senior, Claire is trying to start over after the death of her mother and the mysterious disappearance of her best friend, Richy. Now that's she's living in Amherst, MA, she's discovered she can sneak into the Emily Dickinson museum after hours and it's there she feels closest to her mother. She didn't mean to steal Emily Dickinson's dress, but Tate, a concerned friend who followed her, accidentally set off the alarm. Now they're both on the run! The plot races along with profoundly graceful writing that made me sigh happy little sighs. Claire is a complicated person with a soul-baring voice and Tate has a few secrets of his own. Things get even more complicated when the police reopen the investigation into Richy's disappearance, since they believe Claire was the last person to see him alive ...

A brilliant debut by Kathryn Burak that will appeal to a wide range of readers.
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