- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureIn this stunning page-turner about a house-sitting job gone awry, Haddix combines exquisitely painful suspense with a powerful and poignant message on the importance and limits of forgiveness. Twelve-year-old Brit comes to suspect that all is not right with the summer house-sitting job her adored older brother, Bran, has arranged for their family, so that their overburdened single mother—disowned by her own family after eloping at sixteen with the children's no-good father—can finish her undergraduate degree and pursue her dream of someday becoming a doctor. Why is Bran so reluctant to introduce Brit to the homeowners before they leave? Why will he not let Brit touch the thermostat? Why does he insist on packing away all the Marquises' dishes and family memorabilia? It turns out that the Marquises are not who Brit and her mother think they are, as one gut-wrenching revelation follows another. Haddix has Hitchcock's flair for making even the smallest detail reverberate with agonizing significance—we squirm unbearably over a telltale scrap of paper cut out of the junk mail circulars delivered to the Marquises' house. As impressive, however, is her sensitive creation of a struggling family whose overly-protective older son is ready to make a tragic mistake from love. And the theme of when and why one ought to forgive—or possibly withhold forgiveness—is genuinely deep and moving. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Ages 8 to 12.