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Alison Lohans.
Toronto, ON: Stoddart Publishing, 1992.
215pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-7737-5496-2. (Irwin Young Adult). CIP.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14

Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

Lohans' most recent young adult offering successfully revisits a theme she introduced in Can You Promise Me Spring?, cancer's effects on families. Following a five-year illness, William Franklin's death some ten months earlier has brought about numerous changes in the lives of his survivors: daughters "Sammy" (sixteen) and Deena (thirteen), and widow Carolyn.

Physical changes include the family home being rented, then sold, as the three move into a cramped apartment and later a rundown house in a seedy part of town. Carolyn's time to be a supportive mother is reduced when financial realities necessitate her holding two jobs. The more significant effects of William's death, however, are emotional, and, for central character Sammy, her unresolved grief finds varied expressions, including nightmares that cause her to wake up screaming.

Another tragedy touches Sammy when a fellow youth orchestra member, Matt Bruckner, is involved in a car accident that leaves Matt's sister dead and him paraplegic. At a time when Sammy is still coping with her own confused emotions, she finds herself becoming involved in helping Matt find a reason to live. Although the plot perhaps attempts to do too much and the book's title is never clearly explained, Lohans ties up her major story-lines in satisfactory, yet realistic ways.

Middle school readers will be attracted by the work's good characterization and its strong emotional content.

Dave Jenkinson teaches children's literature in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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