In her first YA book, picture book artist Delacre (Arroz con leche) seizes upon an intimate subject: the death of her 16-year-old daughter, Alicia, in a car crash. Writing of herself as Mamá, she views Alicia through the eyes of friends, classmates and other girls on the Poms dance squad, all of whom Delacre interviewed. Invariably they describe a exuberant and congenial teen, a girl whose worst flaw is a tendency to trick her way out of eating her spinach. Delacre says she hopes to bring comfort to teens struggling with their own sudden losses, but it may be difficult for teens to identify with these idealized relationships. On the other hand, Alicia's friends express their grief realistically and without platitudes: one pretends that she and Alicia have simply lost touch; another finds that talking about Alicia makes it worse. Bereaved readers will be encouraged that whatever their approaches, all of the individuals (including the driver responsible for the crash) eventually begin to feel better without forgetting their friend. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Alicia Afterimageby Lulu Delacre
On the evening of September 24, 2004, sixteen-year-old Alicia María Betancourt was killed in a car accident. Popular, happy, fun-loving Aliciadaughter, sister, and friend to so manygone in an instant. How would those left behind cope with such a sudden, devastating loss? Wrestling with grief, anger, mortality, and spirituality, Alicia’s loved ones struggle to create a lasting place in their hearts for someone who is no longer a physical presence. They share joyful and painful memories, and discover the resilient power of enduring friendship and love. In time, each person finds a way to heal while keeping Alicia’s vibrant spirit alive for those who knew her, and those who never will. Alicia Afterimage is a remarkable story of loss and recovery, but mostly it is a story of love. In this moving tribute to an extraordinary girl, readers will find a pathway through grief and a road map to remembrance. It is a book of comfort for allteens and adultswho seek a way to ease the pain of losing someone they cherished.
Gr 7 Up
Delacre has dedicated this slim volume to "all grieving teens," and while it is published as a work of fiction, the author's note explains that her 16-year-old daughter did, in fact, die in a car accident in 2004. She relates how her mourning process involved interviewing many of Alicia's friends about their relationship with the pint-sized, exuberant Puerto Rican American. Resources on teen grief and teen-driver safety, as well as a photo of Alicia, are appended. Though the point of view shifts from chapter to chapter, the narrative begins and ends with Alicia's mother, starting with the fateful night of the teen's date with a boy who speeds, loses control, and crashes into a telephone pole, killing her instantly. The chapters that focus on her friends, including the driver who survives the crash, don't provide any kind of cohesive narrative, reporting instead memories and events that form a two-dimensional portrait of Alicia: a perfect angel of a daughter, a true and fun-loving friend, a gifted dancer, and someone who always gave more than she took. Throughout the book, faint line sketches appear like shadows beneath the text. While reading the 13 nearly indistinguishable teen accounts of Alicia might be good bibliotherapy for those who have suffered a loss, this afterimage turns into an overexposure of pain that appeals to a sense of pathos without providing satisfaction as fiction.-Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Meet the Author
LULU DELACRE is the illustrator of numerous award-winning books, several of which she also wrote or compiled. Her books range from picture books to chapter books to YA novels. Delacre has been creating books since 1980 and has produced more than thirty-five titles. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Delacre's Latino heritage informs many of her works. A three-time Pura Belpré Award honoree, she was also honored in 1998 as Maryland Woman in the Arts and was a jurorfor the 2003 National Book Awards. Delacre and her husband live in Silver Spring, Maryland.
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