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The opening chapters give little hint of the intensity of Jocelyn's (How It Happened in Peach Hill) exquisitely honed novel. Soon-to-be-high school junior Natalie and her friends like to play "Would you..."-a game exemplified by the book's first lines: "Would you rather know what's going to happen? Or not know?" Abruptly everything changes: Natalie's older sister, Claire, is struck by a car and rendered comatose. Jocelyn maintains a measured pace as the next few days unfold: Natalie watches her mother numb herself with tranquilizers, her father grow angry and look for someone to blame. Although the plot line sounds like that of a standard weeper, the author resists the urge to magnify emotions. Natalie reacts honestly, neither beautifully nor nobly-she is initially repulsed when a nurse asks her to massage Claire's grossly swollen feet; she lashes out at a boy who already (and needlessly) feels guilty. The light touch with which Jocelyn handles her difficult material is best seen when Claire is declared brain-dead and taken off life support: the humanity in the author's treatment affords the reader a sense both of grief and of peace. Ages 14-up. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.