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VOYA -Fourteen-year-old Beth's family seems fairly typical-her little brother and younger sister are troublesome nuisances, and her parents have high expectations of her. Unfortunately, Beth realizes she never appreciated her family enough after they are all killed in a car crash on their way to a Fourth of July picnic (Beth stayed home recovering from the flu). Beth's only relative is her mother's sister and her family, and moving to their home is Beth's only option. Dealing with crushing grief, missing her best friends and familiar neighborhood, being the new kid in school, and living with her incredibly spoiled cousin pretty much sums up Beth's new existence. Her only friends are Jared, the boy her cousin Teri wants; and Sloan, a rebellious loner. After a hastily-decided trip back to her old house, Beth eventually comes to terms with her loss and her new life.
McDaniel's fans will find familiar territory here. The characters are simplistic, the plot is predictable, and the tragic circumstances will pluck the heartstrings of readers who love crisis novels. Many teen readers love McDaniel's books, so libraries can expect the same will be true for this one as well.
VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).