Amazing Gracie

Amazing Gracie

by A. E. Cannon

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ever since Gracie was seven and her mother's severe depression caused her to go to the state hospital, it seems the girl's chief function is to keep her mother from being sad. So Gracie should be delighted that her mother is going to marry Pete, but he often seems extremely irresponsible. When Pete moves Gracie, her mother and his own obnoxious son Sinjin from their hometown to Salt Lake City, Gracie's mother sinks into unhappiness, and Gracie must watch after Sinjin and be the adult in the family. Despite its lighthearted title, the novel takes a fairly grim look at dysfunctional families, hard responsibility and the solid value of pursuing one's dreams. Cannon writes about weighty concerns for young people, but with a humorlessness that keeps the characters at arm's length. Her strengths here lie in describing Gracie's maturation and in offering a realistic sense of hope even in the face of serious difficulty. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-- Gracie looks a lot like her widowed mother, Cynthia, which both pleases and frightens her. Her mother is pretty and fragile , and she suffers from bouts with depression. Since she was quite young, Gracie has cared for her mother and worried that she, too, might become ill. When Cynthia marries Pete, Gracie's life changes. The family moves from a small town to Salt Lake City where Pete tries to start a sales business and Pete's five-year-old son, Sinjian, comes to live with them. The business fails, Cynthia slips back into depression, and Gracie is left to care for the lonely Sinjian as well as cope with her mother and household chores. Growing friendships with two neighborhood boys and an outgoing girl make her life easier but also accentuate the problems she must face at home. Cynthia's suicide attempt finally precipitates actions that help all of the family come to terms with themselves. Gracie is able to appreciate the people around her for their strengths and also comes to recognize her own.. The adolescent characters are well drawn, each reflecting the rudeness, self-mockery, and sensitivity that seem to be part and parcel in young adults. Cannon portrays Gracie and Sinjian's efforts to cope with their parents' problems in a poignant and compelling manner. While the story includes a medical issue and a blended family, it is not a problem novel. Instead, it focuses on the universal desire of every young teen to be thought competent and unique. Readers will empathize with Gracie as she begins to discover herself. --Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

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