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Tell Me Something Real Hardcover – August 30, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The year is 1976, and the Babcock sisters, Adrienne, Vanessa, and Marie, are dealing with the rapidly approaching death of their mother. Their world revolves around their mother's care and her illness. The sisters have put their own lives on hold while they care for her—cleaning the house, feeding her, giving her the necessary medications, and dealing with their mother's increasingly disruptive mood swings. They spend several days each month in a Mexican clinic where their mother receives a controversial treatment that is banned in the United States. Just when things can't seem to get any worse, their mother announces that her disease is terminal, sending the family into a spiral of grief, anger, and, for some, shameful relief. Slowly the girls start to realize that not everything about their mother's illness adds up and that cancer may not be the worst thing that could befall their family. This is an intense read that explores the way illness can seep into the lives of everyone it touches, leaving behind confusion, fear, and anger, and a thoroughly engrossing story that will keep readers reevaluating everything they thought they knew about the Babcock family. VERDICT An intriguing tale of illness, love, loss, and betrayal that is sure to reel in teens looking for something with a little bit of darkness hidden in the pages.—Annalise Ammer, Henrietta Public Library, NY
“A gorgeously written novel that doesn't shy away from recognizing the hard limits of love.” (Tommy Wallach, New York Times bestselling author of We All Looked Up)
* “It’s rare to find such a large group of characters who are so well-developed as to be almost real, and the prose is eloquent and precise, every word chosen with care. . . this debut is hands-down one of a kind.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
"An intriguing tale of illness, love, loss, and betrayal that is sure to reel in teens looking for something with a little bit of darkness hidden in the pages" (School Library Journal)
“The novel’s lyric prose and earnest treatment of grief, sacrifice, and recovery are sure to keep the pages turning.” (Booklist Online)
“Fully realized characters and lovely sentence-level writing make this an engaging debut novel.” (The Horn Book)
"It's transporting reading, with a powerfully evoked 1970s setting, and readers will eagerly sink into Devlin's richly detailed writing, accompanying Vanessa on a journey marked by moments of deep connection and equally profound pain.” (Publishers Weekly)
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Top customer reviews
Life is smoother with Caleb so near and Barb taking care of everyone. But Vanessa's mom is getting worse instead of better, and the word terminal sucks the life out of the family. When Barb suddenly moves out with Caleb, the girls, especially Vanessa, are devastated. More devastating, however, is the reason for their unexpected desertion of a family in need.
The second half of book went too fast. When the book ended - it felt too short. Thats when you know it's a good book! I wanted to read a little longer - to find out a little more.
Some of my favorite lines: the shark analogy on page 170 and I also loved the line, "...pretending she doesn't breathe the same air." On page 186.
TMSR's characters were interesting and I always think the reader's attachment to the characters is the most important part of a book. I read a book to spend time with the characters - they better be interesting - as was hanging out with the Babcock sisters!
Great book! Looking forward to future books from Calla Devlin!
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