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The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance Hardcover – March 27, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Cynnie's mother drowns her problems in alcohol and inappropriate men, leaving the 13-year-old to care for her 3-year-old brother, Bill. He has Down syndrome, and he is the one bright spot in her life. When her mother sends him to live with his grandparents, Cynnie is shattered. To cover up her pain, she tries her first drink and is soon drinking daily in the tree house she built with neighborhood boys. One of them, Snake, makes awkward attempts at friendship, but she rejects them. When he offers to help her run away with Bill, though, she jumps at the chance. Her drinking gets in the way, however, and she nearly kills all of them in a car accident. Horribly ashamed, and separated even further from her brother, she is required to go to court-ordered AA meetings. One woman, Pat, becomes her sponsor and, eventually, mother figure. She helps Cynnie to make amends with the people she's hurt and learn to forgive herself. Once she does this, she can reach out to those who had wanted to help her all along. Hyde illustrates well how quickly a person can fall into the same patterns that they abhor in others, or choose a different path. Cynnie's internal conflict between wanting to be seen by those around her and trying to disappear, either into her tree house or alcohol, is very well drawn. Troubled teens may be able to find some of themselves in her. This is a heavy novel, and will probably require some pushing, but it is a good discussion starter.—Stephanie L. Petruso, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Odenton, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With an alcoholic mother whose boyfriends cycle through the house like clockwork, Cynnie, 13, has been the primary caretaker for Bill, her 3-year-old brother, who has Down syndrome. When her grandparents take Bill, Cynnie is devastated. She sneaks a beer for consolation and quickly becomes an alcoholic herself. Their potentially deadly mistake leads her to Alcoholics Anonymous. Although some readers will wonder how such destructive behavior could develop so quickly, and the second half of the book occasionally reads like an after-school special about "working the program," earnest Cynnie and her driving need to reconnect with her brother set this above the typical problem novel. Cynnie's love for and devotion to Bill are wholly believable, as are her attempts to snare a stable adult presence in her life. Secondary characters are multidimensional and well drawn. Despite Cynnie's relatively young age, her maturity and conflicts, as well as the book's engaging tone, will attract older teens craving stories of risk and redemption with a hopeful ending. Heather Booth
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375832572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375832574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,834,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 30 published and forthcoming books, including WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction.

An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has just released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

Her best-known novel, PAY IT FORWARD, was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA's Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steph on April 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Everyone I've talked to about The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance seems to agree that Becoming Chloe sounds (and is, for those who have read both) better. I respectfully disagree. I loved Becoming Chloe, but this book spoke to me so much more personally.

When Cynnie grandparents take her three-year-old brother, Bill, away, leaving Cynnie to "make sure her mother is okay", and Cynnie is miserable. To soothe the pain, she begins drinking. Even though she vowed never to become her alcoholic mother, Cynnie finds herself spiraling down a slippery slope and doesn't even realize it. When she's the cause of an accident that could've killed not only her, but her kid brother and one of her only friends, Cynnie is court-ordered to take the Alcoholics Anonymous program. And there, she begins facing and understanding all the damage she's caused.

Oh, where to begin, where to begin on saying how all-out fantastic this book was. The plot is dark, taking dips into abuse and vices, but the author doesn't try to make it easier to digest. Some parts had me going, "No! Don't do that, Cynnie!" But that's the thing--it got a reaction (and a big one, at that) out of me. I was incredibly invested in the story. Cynnie is a lost, broken, hurt, confused, cynical character who is just trying to do the best she can with her scant circumstances. She falls into the alcoholic abyss. She commits some godawful mistakes. Some of the choices she makes are downright stupid. It takes all the strength she has, and more, to climb out of the hole she dug for herself. And she does it! She does it for herself. Most importantly, she does it for her brother, who needs her.

Cynnie's strength is in all honesty amazing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on March 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
THE YEAR OF MY MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE by Catherine Ryan Hyde (the author of the well-known Pay It Forward) truly illustrates the life of a young teen and her struggle with an alcoholic parent and the ripple-effect of alcoholism.

Cynnie is used to taking care of herself. Not only herself, but also her little brother, Bill, and let's face it, she takes care of her mother, too. Normal life for Cynnie involves cleaning up after her alcoholic mother, making sure one of her many cigarettes doesn't set their house on fire, and tending to her little brother who has Downs Syndrome. Life isn't easy, but it works for Cynnie. Cynnie's only escape is the tree house one of her mother's many passing boyfriends helped her build.

Until one day when her grandparents show up and announce that Bill will be living with them. Bill is Cynnie's only reason for living. When he leaves, she discovers the power of alcohol to erase her pain. She becomes her mother - stumbling through the day under the influence and waking the next day to do it all over again.

Even through her drunken haze, Cynnie knows her only hope lies in getting Bill back into her life. She convinces her friend Snake, a victim of his own father's abuse, to help her rescue Bill so they can all escape to a better life. Unfortunately, their plan collapses when Cynnnie wrecks the car. Everyone recovers from their injuries, but Bill ends up back with their grandparents, and Cynnie finds herself on probation and back home with her drunken mother.

Part of Cynnie's court-ordered punishment includes mandatory attendance at AA meetings.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Thirteen-year-old Cynnie has a lot on her plate. In trying to carve out a place for herself in the world, she has to contend with an alcoholic mother who hosts a revolving door of boyfriends (none of whom last very long, which Cynnie is fine with). Cynnie also finds herself being more of a mother to her younger brother Bill, who has Down's syndrome. Add to this her reputation at school for being difficult, her tomboyish behavior that confuses her relationship with the neighborhood boys and a stubborn streak, and it's easy to understand how she becomes overwhelmed.

Try as she might not to become like her mother, Cynnie begins to rely more and more on alcohol to dull her pain after her grandparents take Bill to live with them, believing Cynnie's mom can't handle the responsibility anymore. It takes a drunk driving accident and court-ordered AA meetings before Cynnie begins to understand the trouble she's in and takes the first steps to turn her life around.

In creating Cynnie, Catherine Ryan Hyde has given readers a very real character whose pride continually gets her into trouble until she learns to let it go. The book presents a potent reminder of how easy it is to succumb to the allure of alcohol and, worse, how easy it is to become that which we hate the most.

In a world where the varied dangers faced by teens are growing exponentially on a day-to-day basis, THE YEAR OF MY MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE serves as a warning that the old dangers are still very much around.

--- Reviewed by Brian Farrey
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