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|Snap : a novel|
Author: McGhee, Alison
Eleven-year-old Edwina confronts old and new challenges when her longtime best friend Sally faces the inevitable death of the grandmother who raised her.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 77521
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 42878
|Accelerated Reader Disk:|
Enlightened Readers, Disk: P-29
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2004 Noted adult writer (and author of the picture book Countdown to Kindergarten, BCCB 10/02) McGhee embarks here on her first novel for young readers. The story follows narrator Eddie Beckey, a methodical list-maker, through a maze of memory and unnamed fears as she tries to understand and comfort her best friend, Sally, whose grandmother, Willie, is dying. Eddie can’t imagine how Sally will exist without her long-legged, bucket-swinging grandmother, nor can she find a way to comfort her friend. Sally’s reaction to her own grief is withdrawal, a response that shuts out the pain but also the sweetness of day-to-day life. Eddie follows blindly, terrified of uncertainty and change but compelled to reach out to the friend who needs her. An affirmation of the reality of pain but also of love and beauty, Snap is a more lyrical tale than its crisp title suggests. Short chapter vignettes present image after image to the heart’s eye, images repeated and developed until the full-blooded story emerges with the emotional power of a personal grief. Though Eddie’s list-making palls three pages in (her rubber-band-snapping is used to better effect), the story retains vigor by avoiding the sentimentality of an easy out for Willie or for Eddie. Readers moved by Holt’s My Louisiana Sky (BCCB 6/98) will find similar depth in this sympathetic treatment of grief and friendship. - Copyright 2004 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2004 Gr 5-8-In the summer before seventh grade, Edwina Beckey keeps her world in order by making lists and wearing colored rubber bands on her wrist to snap when she needs reminding (to quit tipping back in chairs, to stop covering her mouth when she laughs). There's an enigmatic sixth purple one, too, but Eddie doesn't share its true meaning. She also counts on her best friend, Sally, to be there for her. But Sally's beloved grandmother, Willie, who has raised Sally and performed such loving tasks as braiding her hair, is dying. While Sally angrily begins to try to shed memories of everything important to her, Eddie struggles against changes, to keep her friendship intact, and to accept Willie's imminent death herself. At the story's emotional crest, Eddie has shed her lists and no longer needs the rubber bands. She uses them to braid and fasten Sally's hair, and reveals the special meaning of the last one. A number of metaphors weave through the story: a "meander" or small stream that changes its banks, talismans for keeping dogs and death away, and others. Snap would make a strong discussion book for small-group reading. Like Kevin Henkes's Olive's Ocean (Greenwillow, 2003), it features memorable characters and a tolerance for eccentricity, emotional subtlety and complexity, themes of acceptance of death and love, and a spare and poetic text that begs to be reread and savored.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/15/2004 *Starred Review* Edwina Beckly wears rubber bands on her arm; she snaps them to remind herself of things. The white one reminds her to cover her mouth when she laughs; the yellow one is so she won't tip back in chairs; the blue one helps her remember to think of her best friend Sally's grandmother as Willie, a person in her own right. Willie is on Eddie's mind a lot because she has a blood disease that is killing her. Who will take care of Sally when Willie dies? Jill, Sally's mother, is young and barely speaks. Who will braid Sally's hair? The story is pregnant with tragedy, but it's not so much what happens as the way McGhee, the author of three adult books, writes it. Her writing is precise, evocative, and sure, and although the story is told from the point of view of an 11-year-old, there's a purity of thought that exceeds much of what is presented in middle-grade fiction. Yet, despite this level of sophistication, Eddie and Sally both seem very real. The understated tone of the narrative draws readers near, as when one leans close to hear someone speaking softly. Children will come away thinking they have heard something quite profound about love, fear, and hope for the future. - Copyright 2004 Booklist.