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Thatcher Heldring
Teen Fiction HARMEL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This bittersweet book follows 16-year-old Lacey Mann, who feels responsible for the car accident that killed her father 10 months earlier. "A hundred times a day, I thought about how different life would be if I hadn't insisted on taking those extra moments in the bathroom," she thinks. Well-meaning Lacey wants to help her mother and brothers cope, but the family is disconnected in their grieving. What's more, her focus on her family has prevented her from dealing with her own emotions or forgiving herself. When a classmate's mother dies, Lacey is inspired to start a club for students whose parents have passed away. Harmel (When You Wish) wrote about such a group for People magazine, where she is a longtime contributor, which inspired this book. Her depictions of the forms grief takes are realistically wide-ranging, including self-blame, anger, and alcohol abuse. For Lacey, a relationship with a boy named Sam helps her confront her feelings and finally begin to move forward. Though the book is sometimes overly sentimental, its lessons about family, friendship, loss, and the enduring power of love should stick with readers. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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