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Three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Johnson (Heaven) pens a story of dazzling immediacy set in Cleveland. Her keenly observant narrator, Scotty, 16, divides her days between attending school, dealing with her autistic younger brother, Keone; and hanging out with her friends Falcone and Misha at the Endangered Species Cafe. Scotty's chief concerns are planning for the upcoming homecoming dance and making a trip to visit Falcone's sister, Gina, who became a mother figure to Scotty after her mother died. But Scotty's world is turned upside down when she's in a train crash that kills three students, including her very recent crush, and puts Keone in a coma. Dazed, Scotty suffers from survivor's guilt ("Half of Keone's bones are broken. I got bruises and a twisted knee. Life is stupid"), fantasizing ways the crash could have been avoided. Realistic dialogue and a cast of vibrant characters give lively texture to Johnson's nonlinear narrative. Through minimal exposition and Scotty's singular voice, Johnson gracefully explores life's defining moments, whether painful or bittersweet, and how the world carries on, even when everything has changed. Ages 14-up.
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*“This slim book looks like it will be a quick read, but it turns out to be much more demanding—and rewarding—due to the story’s complex structure and the author’s gift for showing, not telling.”
—The Horn Book, starred review
*"A wonderfully crafted and deeply satisfying novel, full of detail that provides texture and meaning."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
IN THE FUTURE, WHEN I IMAGINE I MIGHT BE famous or infamous for something I’ve done, I suppose people will ask what it was that brought me to that place. Well, if I’m infamous I will say—no eyewitnesses and a good lawyer. If I’m famous I will say, I guess I just wanted it bad enough. One of these scenarios will probably be true, but more than likely neither will happen.
Most likely I’ll live my life like most people on the planet. Highs, lows, buy some shit, read some books, love some people, try not to eff the world up, and be kind to animals so they won’t eat me, as I’ve chosen to try not to eat them.
But if I’m ever asked if there was a time in my life that made me the person I am, I will point to a certain October that stays with me like a song played over the radio a hundred times at the start of a day. You can’t get it out of your head so all you can do is go through it. I never did finish my book report on Anna Karenina and I went through so much with people I loved and hung out with. I got to see the world through their eyes that certain October, although my own were slightly unfocused.
Posted September 17, 2013
Like Angela Johnson's other works, she writes about a tough topic, stays true to life, and makes the most mundane parts of our daily lives into a whisper of poetry. Some parts hit hard, and the ending was realistic, beautiful, and satisfying. I especially enjoyed the camaraderie between Scotty and her two best friends.
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Posted September 5, 2013
As i wondered the deep places the earth, i found a den, and fell asleep, and this is what i dreamed. <p>
I was padding through the dark forest, when i saw a small door, partly ajar. So i pushd through, and this, is what i saw:<p> i walked through a long tunnel, then as i padded along, i sww an eyre red glow at the end of the tunnel. When i approached it, i saw that the light came from blood, spilled all over feline bones all in a large mountain. And to this day, if you fall asleep in the dark forest (entrance is res 7) you can still find this mountain.