From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-In the last six months, life has changed dramatically for Emily. On the way home from a swim meet, her father had an accident in which she was hurt and her older brother, Jon, was killed. Her physician mother withdraws from the family into her work and her author father retreats into his office with more empty liquor bottles than completed writings coming out. For her, Jon's spirit is still in the basement, where the siblings spent most of their time, and where she attempts to keep up with her ballet, which is painful because of her injuries. When her parents decide to sell the house, Emily fears she will lose her brother for a second time. She concocts amazing stories and contrived tricks to fend off prospective buyers. These humorous events lighten the load of grief for readers, while Emily gradually comes to understand that change is not always bad and that letting go is OK. Janey, the loving family housekeeper; Dr. Radke, a therapist Emily gradually comes to trust; and Esther, a nursing-home resident assigned to her for a class project, help her through her grief. Reminiscent of Janet Lee Carey's Wenny Has Wings (Atheneum, 2002), this book shows how one sibling copes with the death of another. The secondary characters are not as fully fleshed out, but the focus is on Emily's road to healing.Crystal Faris, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY
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Gr. 5-8. Although it has been six months since 12-year-old Emily Racine was seriously injured in a car accident that killed her older brother, Jon, she still mourns him every day and all the time. Convinced that his spirit inhabits the cellar, she spends hours there, practicing ballet and conversing with him. Her parents, who have their own adjustment issues, decide that moving to a new house will be best for everyone, a decision that prompts Emily to begin a campaign of subterfuge to prevent the house (Jon's abode) from being sold. In the hands of a lesser author this could have been maudlin, but Deans wisely adds a humorous subplot involving the naive realtor that lightens the goings-on just enough. She also realistically shepherds her characters through their grief, before permitting the closure that allows them to move forward. Give this to middle-graders in the mood for a satisfying four-hankie cry. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved