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The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance

The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance

4.5 4
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

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“Reminiscent of . . . S. E. Hinton. Very close to perfect.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Cynnie can take care of herself—and more importantly, she can take care of her little brother, Bill. So it doesn’t matter that her mom is drunk all the time. Cynnie’s got her own life. Cynnie’s the one Bill loves more than anyone.


“Reminiscent of . . . S. E. Hinton. Very close to perfect.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Cynnie can take care of herself—and more importantly, she can take care of her little brother, Bill. So it doesn’t matter that her mom is drunk all the time. Cynnie’s got her own life. Cynnie’s the one Bill loves more than anyone. Cynnie’s the real mother in the house. And if there’s one thing she knows for sure, it’s that she’ll never, ever sink as low as her mother. But when things start to fall apart, Cynnie needs a way to dull the pain. Never say never.

This unflinching look at the power of addiction is the story of one girl’s fall into darkness—and the strength, trust, and forgiveness it takes to climb back out again.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Myrna Marler
Thirteen-year-old Cynnie has an alcoholic mother who runs a stream of unsavory boyfriends through her bedroom, a three-year-old brother named Bill with Down syndrome, a friend named Snake who frequently appears with mysterious bruises on his face, and the ability to hold all her rage inside by hiding out in a tree house where she can watch the action but not participate. Her world falls apart, though, when her cranky grandparents arrive to take Bill away in the hopes that Cynnie's mother will take some control of her life. Bill is the only inhabitant of Cynnie's world whom she loves. After Bill's departure, Cynnie begins to follow in her mother's footsteps, drinking to relieve the pain and trying to attract the attention of one of her mother's younger, more appealing lovers. She runs away with Snake, kidnaps Bill, wrecks Snake's car and breaks his heart. This is only the beginning of Cynnie's year, however, because now, back with her mother, she wears a cumbersome cast, is a pariah, and is forced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. The year is the story of her slow recovery from her slide into addiction. Told in spare prose, the novel reveals the complex world of the teenage alcoholic and why someone who despises her mother's weaknesses might follow her lead. With the help of AA and taking responsibility for her own actions, Cynnie gets a chance to make some amends and carve out a tenuous future for herself. An excellent novel for older teens and probably useful for younger teens who face similar problems.
VOYA - Diane Emge Colson
Life for thirteen-year-old Cynnie involves the daily horror of an alcoholic mother with a series of live-in boyfriends. Cynnie's existence is brightened only by her three-year-old brother, Bill, who has Down syndrome and loves Cynnie wholeheartedly. Even this joy is lost, however, when Cynnie's grandparents remove Bill from his dysfunctional home. In her devastation, Cynnie finds comfort in the company of her mother's boyfriend, Zack, also an alcoholic who identifies Cynnie as another of the "broken people." Adopting Zack's cure for his own brokenness, Cynnie herself begins drinking on a daily basis. After a plot to kidnap Bill ends in an accident caused by Cynnie's drinking, she is court ordered to attend AA meetings. To Cynnie's surprise and disappointment, Zack is also attending these meetings, no longer willing to be Cynnie's drinking buddy. Cynnie then has the difficult task of staying sober while living with her drunken mother. There is much that is extraordinary about this book. Rarely has the poignant struggle of a young teen to stay sober been so accurately portrayed. Hyde, author of the book-into-movie Pay It Forward (Simon & Schuster, 1999), takes the reader through Cynnie's painful steps to recovery, aided by her insightful AA sponsor. Although Cynnie's first-person narrative sometimes sounds a bit disingenuous and her recovery buoyed by well-timed "miracles," her story still rings true and can serve as a battle plan for other teens fighting substance addiction. The book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of several critically acclaimed young adult novels, including Becoming Chloe and Diary of a Witness, as well as the adult novels Pay It Forward and Chasing Windmills.

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Year of My Miraculous Reappearance 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
THE YEAR OF MY MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE by Catherine Ryan Hyde (also the author of the well-known PAY IT FORWARD) truly illustrates the life of a young teen and her struggle with an alcoholic parent and the ripple-effect of alcoholism.

Cynnie is used to taking care of herself. Not only herself, but also her little brother, Bill, and let's face it, she takes care of her mother, too. Normal life for Cynnie involves cleaning up after her alcoholic mother, making sure one of her many cigarettes doesn't set their house on fire, and tending to her little brother who has Downs Syndrome. Life isn't easy, but it works for Cynnie. Cynnie's only escape is the tree house one of her mother's many passing boyfriends helped her build.

Until one day when her grandparents show up and announce that Bill will be living with them. Bill is Cynnie's only reason for living. When he leaves, she discovers the power of alcohol to erase her pain. She becomes her mother - stumbling through the day under the influence and waking the next day to do it all over again.

Even through her drunken haze, Cynnie knows her only hope lies in getting Bill back into her life. She convinces her friend Snake, a victim of his own father's abuse, to help her rescue Bill so they can all escape to a better life. Unfortunately, their plan collapses when Cynnnie wrecks the car. Everyone recovers from their injuries, but Bill ends up back with their grandparents, and Cynnie finds herself on probation and back home with her drunken mother.

Part of Cynnie's court-ordered punishment includes mandatory attendance at AA meetings. The meetings are at first intimidating, but as Cynnie finally discovers through the help of her sponsor, they offer her a way to push her life in a positive direction. Her goal to eventually reunite with her brother gives Cynnie the determination to overcome her fears.

Hyde takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of emotions as Cynnie battles her mother, her grandparents, and her own personal demons. As in real life, nothing is easy and relapses make life seem hopeless at times. Cynnie's story is straightforward and inspirational.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
Thirteen-year-old Cynnie can take care of herself, which is a good thing since her mom is usually drunk and often passed out on the couch. Cynnie can take care of her three-year-old brother, Bill, too. Bill has Down Syndrome, and Cynnie knows he loves her because her name is the only word he can say. But when Cynnie's mom, Rita, asks her parents to come and take Bill, life starts to spiral out of control for Cynnie. Even though she has vowed that she would never be like her mother, without Bill keeping her grounded she starts to drink as well. Her choices lead to trouble in school and in the courts. Can she find a way to work herself out of her troubles and into a future with greater possibilities? The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a touching story that takes the reader inside the life of addiction from the unusual perspective of a teen girl. It shows how addiction affects everyone in a family, but it also shows what it takes to work your way out of the downward spiral, one step at a time. Cynnie is vulnerable, courageous, tenacious, and resourceful. From the outside, she looks and acts like many teens, while she hides her reality from friends and teachers. The choices she makes, and their consequences, should provide great discussion for a mother-daughter book club with girls in middle school and older.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago