Author: Isler, Emily Barth
After her younger brother's death from a heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy moves to a town that was devastated by a school shooting four years earlier, where she must navigate different kinds of grief.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 518681
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2021 Gr 5 Up—Queensland, VA, a town devastated by a mass school shooting, is perhaps the toughest place tween Lucy Rothman can ever imagine moving, especially as a new member of the affected seventh grade class. Though her mother obsessively redecorates, Lucy's new room, which belonged to one of the victims, feels weighed down by memories. Lucy is enveloped by death; her parents wanted a fresh start after losing her younger brother to a heart condition. Wrecked, alone, and with aloof parents, Lucy finds solace in math and logic. A friendly math teacher and his improv class prove instrumental as she works to stitch her classmates, herself, and her family together again. Isler's novel provides a look at the turmoil that is felt years after a tragedy. Her original yet devastatingly plausible scenario will entice tween readers, who will connect with the authentic narrator. Lucy's thoughts, conversations, and thought-provoking math equations offer an emotional glimpse into the disrupted lives of the victims. Some readers will relate to Lucy's inaccessible parents and further discover ideas on mending such relationships. Despite the weight of the premise, the book is accessible, and there are even occasional chuckles and hints at young romance. Short chapters and a well-paced plot will keep tweens reading and also create a day-by-day approach to the challenging topic. The ending feels simplistic and perhaps a bit too easily resolved but provides a hopeful outlook. VERDICT Isler nose-dives into the perhaps taboo topic of school shootings, yet breathes healing, change, and math into the emotional catharsis.—Mary-Brook J. Townsend, formerly at The McGillis Sch., Salt Lake City - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2021 Isler’s debut novel bravely dives into the long-term recovery and age-appropriate exploration of trauma through the eyes of 12-year-old Lucy. After her brother, Theo, dies from a lifelong heart defect, Lucy’s parents move her to a new town. Her first day of seventh grade is lonely and isolating but not just because she is the new kid; the students in her grade survived a school shooting four years earlier and have a special bond, and she’s having a tough time finding a way in. She once found solace in math, but when she joins an after-school mime class, Lucy learns to express herself in different ways. She finds that unlike math, life doesn’t always have absolute answers. Isler consulted mental-health professionals and gun-violence survivors in writing this book and provides young readers a safe way to learn how to navigate grief and explore this topic safely. Like Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Ghost Boys, Isler’s novel takes the timely and realistic topic of gun violence and turns it into an engaging story without sensationalizing it. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.