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Love, Aubrey

Love, Aubrey

4.8 200
by Suzanne LaFleur

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"I had everything I needed to run a household: a house, food, and a new family. From now on it would just be me and Sammy–the two of us, and no one else."

A tragic accident has turned eleven-year-old Aubrey’s world upside down. Starting a new life all alone, Aubrey has everything she thinks she needs: SpaghettiOs and Sammy, her


"I had everything I needed to run a household: a house, food, and a new family. From now on it would just be me and Sammy–the two of us, and no one else."

A tragic accident has turned eleven-year-old Aubrey’s world upside down. Starting a new life all alone, Aubrey has everything she thinks she needs: SpaghettiOs and Sammy, her new pet fish. She cannot talk about what happened to her. Writing letters is the only thing that feels right to Aubrey, even if no one ever reads them.
With the aid of her loving grandmother and new friends, Aubrey learns that she is not alone, and gradually, she finds the words to express feelings that once seemed impossible to describe. The healing powers of friendship, love, and memory help Aubrey take her first steps toward the future.
Readers will care for Aubrey from page one and will watch her grow until the very end, when she has to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.
Love, Aubrey is devastating, brave, honest, funny, and hopeful, and it introduces a remarkable new writer, Suzanne LaFleur. No matter how old you are, this book is not to be missed.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
LaFleur's moving debut offers a convincing first-person narration of a girl coping in the wake of tragedy. When 11-year-old Aubrey's mother drives away one morning, leaving her alone in their house, Aubrey resolutely takes care of herself for a week, buying canned food (and a pet fish) with birthday money and watching TV. After Aubrey's concerned grandmother arrives (Aubrey hasn't been answering the phone) and takes her home with her to Vermont, the devastating circumstances behind her mother's departure become clear: Aubrey's family has recently been in a car accident, in which both her father and little sister were killed. Aubrey grapples with her abandonment by displaying psychosomatic symptoms—she gets frequent bouts of nausea—and through symbolic gestures (she periodically composes letters to her sister's imaginary friend, which are interspersed throughout). With the support of a neighbor her age, her grandmother and a school counselor who encourages her to write letters to her family, Aubrey begins to accept her loss and to understand her mother's complex motivations for leaving. The relationships at the center of Aubrey's struggle—with her mother, grandmother and with herself—are fleshed out with honesty and sensitivity. Ages 9–14. (June)
Children's Literature - Jillian Hurst
After Aubrey's father and little sister are killed in a tragic car accident on a rainy day, Aubrey never imagined she would lose her mother as well. Unable to handle the heartbreak, Aubrey's mom takes off one day, leaving her to face the world alone. Gram comes down and sees that eleven-year-old Aubrey has been left alone, and she brings her back to Vermont while they try to find Aubrey's mom. The love that Gram freely gives to Aubrey becomes the only unconditional thing in her life. When Aubrey's mom turns up in Colorado, she makes it clear that, although she loves her daughter, she is not yet ready to return, not stable enough to take care of her daughter. Through creating new friendships, accepting the devotion of a caring grandmother, and writing letters to her sister's imaginary friend, Aubrey's broken heart begins to heal. The first-person narration allows the reader to experience the intense anxiety and heartbreak that Aubrey is going through, making it natural to feel protective and compassionate for this story's protagonist. LaFleur's debut is a beautiful, moving account of loss and abandonment, love and restoration. Reviewer: Jillian Hurst
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—How does a child recover from unspeakable loss? For Aubrey, 11, it takes time, love, stability, and the emotional release that comes from writing letters. After her father and younger sister die in a car accident, Aubrey's mother becomes psychologically unstable and abandons her. Uprooted from her home in Virginia, Aubrey goes to live with her grandmother in Vermont. Along with Gram's love, she finds solace in spending time with the family next door and acquires a best friend in the process. When her mother materializes and begins her emotional recovery, Aubrey must decide whether to return home or to remain with her grandmother. Throughout the grieving process, her emotions are palpable. LaFleur captures the way everyday occurrences can trigger a sudden flood of memories and overwhelming feelings of renewed loss. She details the physical responses of the human body to emotional trauma with an immediacy that puts readers inside Aubrey's pain and loss. The child's progress is reflected in her letters, which are at first directed to her sister's imaginary friend, then to her dead father and sister, and finally to the mother who hurt her so deeply. While the grandmother's patience and insight at times stretch credulity, for those who want or need to experience grief vicariously, this is an excellent choice.—Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Kirkus Reviews
In this touching debut novel, a devastating accident leaves an 11-year-old girl grieving and alone until her grandmother and some new friends provide comfort and support. When Aubrey's father and sister are killed in an automobile accident, her shattered mother disappears, leaving her alone in their Virginia home. In denial, Aubrey tells no one, pretends everything is fine and lives on Cheerios, SpaghettiOs, crackers and cheese. Eventually her grandmother takes her to Vermont, where Aubrey remains withdrawn and unable to discuss her loss except in letters she never mails. With the support of her grandmother, her new best friend and the school counselor, Aubrey's life gradually starts to seem slightly normal-until her mother appears, forcing her to face difficult new issues. Speaking in the first-person past tense, an initially detached Aubrey tells the story from her wobbly perspective, dropping hints about the accident and her mother's abandonment until the pieces fit together. Her detailed progression from denial to acceptance makes her both brave and credible in this honest and realistic portrayal of grief. (Fiction. 9-14)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, August 1, 2009:
"LeFleur proves she is an author to watch in this debut novel."

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
HL570L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

It was fun at first, playing house.

I made all my own meals. Crackers and cheese, three times a day.

I watched whatever I wanted on TV, all day.

It'd been a good three days: crackers and cheese for breakfast, TV; crackers and cheese for lunch, TV; crackers and cheese for dinner, TV, bed. Nothing to think about but TV and cheese. A perfect world.

Then I ran out of cheese.

There wasn't anything left in the freezer. The veggie drawer in the fridge had drippy brown lettuce and stinky carrots. A container of milk sat on the shelf. I opened it. It smelled awful, too, so I put the cap back on and shoved it to the back of the fridge.

I checked my room for snacks. I peeked at the lower shelf of my nightstand, where I had set a plate with two chocolate-covered cookies for Jilly, the way Savannah always did. Jilly's cookies used to disappear, but I couldn't seem to get her to come around anymore. Savannah probably ate the cookies herself. I picked one up and bit it, but it was hard stale.

I had to go shopping. I needed a break from TV anyway. I got some money from my sock drawer, taking just two of the twenty-dollar bills left over from my birthday. It was so long ago, my birthday. On the day I turned eleven, I didn't think I would be using the money in Gram's card to buy my own groceries.

Everything was different now.

I didn't want anyone at the store to notice me, so I put on a hat and sunglasses, like a movie star walking around a city.

I put my backpack on and set out for the grocery store. It was nice to be outside for a change. The summer air felt really hot, though, and soon there was sweat under my hat and running down my face behind the glasses. The disguise wasn't as glamorous as it had seemed.

I was excited to pick out anything I wanted at the store. I went to the aisle with the SpaghettiOs and lifted my sunglasses to examine the cans. I wanted the ones with meatballs. Savannah likes the plain ones. No, she liked--Savannah had liked the plain ones–

I suddenly felt very sick, there in the canned-goods aisle.

But I needed food. I put five cans of SpaghettiOs with meatballs into my buggy.
Because I wanted to run a healthy household, I figured I needed some vegetables. I got two cans of corn and one of green beans. I picked out a box of Cheerios and a half gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and sliced-turkey-and-ham packages, and a bag of apples. I realized my backpack would feel heavy and figured that that was enough to eat, for a few days anyway.

I paid and made it out of the store without anyone recognizing me. I stopped at a bench and zipped the paper grocery bag into my backpack. I adjusted my hat and sunglasses and started to walk home, but that was when I noticed the pet store next to the grocery.

I wasn't on a schedule or anything. I had time to go inside.

A bell jingled on the door as I opened it. The store had a heavy smell of animals and the sounds of many noisy birds chirping.

There were three puppies in glass cages. I pressed my hand to one of the windows and the baby dog jumped against it.

That would be fun, to have a dog.

I took the wad of leftover money out of my pocket and looked at it. The puppies cost hundreds of dollars each. Even the rest of the money in my birthday card wouldn't have been enough.

In the back of the store were tanks of fish. In front of the tanks were rows of individual little bowls, each with one colorful fish inside. The sign said betta fish $3.99.

On the very end of the row of bowls was a blue fish with purple-edged fins. He was looking right at me and waving one of his fins.

I wiggled my finger back at him, and looked at the money in my hand again.
I carefully carried the bowl to the counter. The lady there saw me coming and slapped a container of food down.

"It's two dollars extra," she said.

"That's fine, ma'am." I watched as she moved my fish into a plastic bag, tied it, and handed it to me.

"What's his name?" she asked.

"Sammy," I said.

I held his bag carefully in my hand the whole way home.

I had everything I needed to run a household: a house, food, and a new family. From now on it would just be me, Aubrey, and Sammy--the two of us, and no one else.

We'd had a fish before, a goldfish. I found her old bowl with blue pebbles under the kitchen sink. I hummed as I rinsed the pebbles without soap to keep Sammy's water suds-free. I made the water a little warm and dumped Sammy into it with his old water. I set him on my dresser.

"Welcome home," I told him.

Footsteps sounded on the porch. I froze and listened. Mail pushed through the slot. The metal flap slammed shut and I jumped. I caught my breath and tiptoed to the door to look at the mail. It was starting to pile up. I hadn't touched it in four days. A lot of it was still addressed to Gordon Priestly. Dad. A kids' magazine came for Savannah. Highlights. I gave the mail a good kick and went back to the kitchen to make a sandwich.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Suzanne LaFleur received her MFA in writing for children from The New School. This is her first novel. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in New York City, where she teaches in a public school for gifted children.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Love, Aubrey 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 200 reviews.
AmyBrailey More than 1 year ago
Love, Aubrey is the story of a young girl who has been abandoned by her mother after her father and sister have been killed in a tragic car accident. Aubrey is able to work through this experience with the help of a caring counsellor who challenges her, a loving grandmother who provides structure in her life, and two friends who genuinely care for her. The only criticism I would have of the story is that the character of Aubrey's best friend shows greater wisdom and acceptance of Aubrey and her problems than the traditional ten year old would have. Overall, though, the story is well-written and poses a lot of opportunities to talk with students about their treatment of others and the way to deal with difficult circumstances.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing book! Its soooooo interesting and good!!!! Its a little sad but i still recomend on reading this fasinating book!!!! Its better then five stars!!! It deserves about one-hundred stars or more!!!! Read it! It will chance your life forever in a good way!!!!!!!!!!!!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Aubrey Priestly has eaten the last of the cheese and crackers and finished the juice in the refrigerator. There is nothing left to eat so she takes the birthday money Gram sent and heads to the store. She knows she can buy groceries and take care of herself, but she's worried about what might happen if someone finds out she is eleven and living alone. Tragedy struck and took Aubrey's sister and father, and now her mother has been gone for days. Aubrey thought it was best to ignore the constantly ringing telephone since she had no idea what to tell any caller that might ask to speak to her mother. However, one afternoon she just couldn't ignore the repeated ringing of the doorbell. When she opened the door, she found Gram standing on the porch. What follows is Aubrey's concerned grandmother bustling about asking questions about how long she's been alone and then giving instructions about what to pack since Gram is taking Aubrey back with her. They ride the train from Virginia to the familiar old house in Vermont. Used to visits only on holidays, it seems strange to be moving in with Gram, but it's a relief to have someone taking care of her again. Aubrey gradually opens up to her grandmother as the two of them work to adjust to the tremendous changes in their lives. But even with Gram's loving care, a new best friend living right next door, and a helpful counselor at her new school, Aubrey finds the most relief when she writes letters to the loved ones now missing from her life. LOVE, AUBREY is the first novel by Suzanne LaFleur. The story is filled with emotion. The heart-wrenching sadness Aubrey experiences as old memories begin to surface are sure to bring tears to the eyes of even the most jaded reader. LaFleur shows Aubrey dealing with grief and loss as she struggles to understand her feelings and the confusing choices made by her grieving mother. This is a powerful story about love, loss, and healing that goes far beyond its targeted middle grade audience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so amazing! I couldn't put it down! It made me cry a few times but made me thankfull for my life. I recomend this book to anyone! It is like a rolercoaster with its ups and downs. With an ending that will surprise you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Thd moment i picked it up i could stop. I actually cried while reading it. It made me think about life. I would recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good. I became emotionally attached to the character, and her letters were so moving. She questioned why she lived, why her mother left her, why life was so unfair; so many people can relate to her especially after a tragedy. The book was moving and so much was understood if you "read between the lines" while some of it was said out loud. I cried 8 times reading it, feeling her pain and happiness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet book. Kind of sad. One of my favs! Please buy it. You will love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cried soooo much and if i wasnt crying i was SMILING!!!!!!!! THIS DESERVES 10000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think eveyone should read this book beacaause its a book anyone would LOVE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book! I recomend for 11+
afAC More than 1 year ago
Love, Aubrey is an awesome book, I suggest for anyone to read it. It’ll keep you guessing, and make you laugh, and it’ll make you sad at times. It’s a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a great book so far even though im on page 9...My friend told me a little about it and it sounded great so i decided to buy it on my NOOK.. ..PEOPLE NEED TO READ IT!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow best book I have ever read . Sad at times but makes you greatful for every thing . So happy that i picked this up to read . It realy touched me i think all girls 9+ should read this . Will change how u think and feel for ever, in a good way !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love, Aubrey is a great book it really shows ot of things this book is awesome for age 9 and up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I sobbed, but overall it was a great book!! WARNING: U WILL PROBABLY CRY!!!(:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an emotional rollarcoaster all the feel like crying parts and im happy BEST BOOK EVER MADE!!!!!!! 5 STAR!!!
Ekua Ashon More than 1 year ago
Whoever is saying this is a bad book is wrong this book rocks its so toucing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is Olivia and I want you to know that this is truely a wonderful book. Aubrey is a loveable and heart-renching character. I cried, but thats ok. That means its good. I read this when I was 10, but I'd recomend it for ages 11-. Hope this helps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I can't believe all of the things she went through but still was strong. If you're looking for a great book to read this book is great. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great book to read. This book made it to my Top Ten Best Books that I have eer read. If you haven't read it and want to know if you should buy it then my recommendation is that you should. Don't listen to other reviews that say its a bad book or that it wasn't worth it because it is worth buying. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Thanks for reading. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the most amazing book ever!!!!!!!!! If you read the first pageyou are hooked very recomended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have ever read this year! It is highly recomended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my class we were reading this book for read a loud and my teacher and me and my friend all cried. Very sad but amazing. I would give this book 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 stars. It really deserves it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it has my bffs name i would racreamend it for people who like sad books. Ps it will make u cry like i did
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am only 13 and i love this book u have to read it,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good book but so sad if i think about it i will tear up