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Children's LiteratureTwelve-year-old Dilly's mother died six years ago—long enough ago that Dilly has few real memories of her mother, but recently enough that her father still orchestrates their lives in constant homage to what "Mummie" would have wanted—such as their spending every summer on the old family farm in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. It is there that Dilly discovers, from her mother's best friend Libby, that her mother wrote Dilly a letter as she was dying, a letter that Libby thinks Dilly is ready to read. Dilly is incensed at this further intrusion by her mother on her life from beyond the grave: "Dear Mummie, Look, I'm sorry you're dead and everything, okay? That must be really terrible for you. But why can't you just leave us alone? . . . You're dead, don't you get it??? GET OFF MY BACK!!!!" But as Dilly begins to search for the letter, now misplaced, she discovers many clues to her mother's childhood, and to the dynamics of her mother's friendship with Libby, now eerily repeated in Dilly's own friendship with Libby's niece, Sasha. Warner is one of the most emotionally honest authors of adolescent fiction writing today, and a master at recording every nuance of Dilly's anguished and yearning relationships with her father, Libby, and Sasha, and with the dead mother who still remains a desperately needed but yet unwanted presence in her life. The book builds to a compelling climax that almost promises too much—and then delivers all that it promised, and more. 2003, Viking, Ages 9 to 12.
— Claudia Mills