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Posted October 7, 2009
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A Reflective Read
Raquel, an average girl, dies coming home from a movie late and night and stepping in front of a car. She never had a chance. Her story is told from the eyes of classmates who never talked to her, but cry at her wake, her best friend, her father, the people who watched her die, and one girl who could have been her friend - but wasn't.
I liked this book, it made me think of mine own life and how people would react to my death - meaning what have a I brought to the world and left behind. I like books that make me think - even if it is a little morbid.
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Posted November 14, 2008
Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com
The facts as we know them: Raquel Falcone was fourteen years old. She was the class "fat girl." She loved her father, and her father loved her. Her best friend was Hayley Evenski. She died when a car hit her as she was leaving the movie theater. <BR/><BR/>The things we don't know: Pretty much everything else. <BR/><BR/>Told in alternating chapters that are more like the thoughts and ideas of those who knew her (and those who really didn't), REMEMBERING RAQUEL is a short but powerful story. <BR/><BR/>We hear from Hayley, Raquel's best friend, who feels that, even though she didn't go to the movies with Raquel that night, she still should have been able to prevent her death. We listen to the girls who now remember themselves as Raquel's friends, even though they wouldn't have given such a fat, invisible girl the time of day in real life (who knew death was such a popularity booster?). We hear from the boy who might have, maybe, one day, asked Raquel out on a date, or to the school dance. We get a glimpse of the older woman, another movie patron, who fears she may have been responsible for Raquel stepping into the path of that car. We listen to her father, who had already lost his wife, grieve over the fact that his last words to his daughter were "Yeah, yeah," said in a "whatever" type of voice as his daughter left the house. <BR/><BR/>Vivian Vande Velde is a great author who has mastered the pace of writing a short, emotional story. It's passages such as the one from Nona Falcone, Raquel's grandmother, that make this book worth reading: <BR/><BR/>"I've watched Alzheimer's steal my husband's memories, one by one, from most recent to oldest -- so that at the nursing home he'll say, "Hello," as though I haven't been holding his hand for the last half hour. He'll give the smile that won my heart in high school and say, "Thank you for visiting me. Do I know you?" <BR/><BR/>Oh, Raquel. Why did God bless him, and not me?" <BR/><BR/>Pick up a copy of REMEMBERING RAQUEL. You'll be glad you did.
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