Lee & Low Books
138 pages. $19.95.
Just five minutes from her home, 16-year-old Alicia died when her date lost control of his car and hit a telephone pole. Alicia’s friends remember her in 13 chapters, each titled with a friend’s name. Chad feels Alicia drawing intricate designs on his arm. Ben writes a song about Alicia’s face inside the clouds. Lauren sobs uncontrollably at 11:27 on the night of the accident, later learning that it was the moment Alicia died. They keep their handmade cards and gifts from Alicia and cherish her love for them.
Readers of this young adult, truth-based novel don’t discover until the end that Delacre is the real Alicia’s mother, who was so struck by the grief of her daughter’s friends that she interviewed them to find out how they coped. Fictionalizing and merging their stories, she brings “solace to others who must endure grief.” Teen readers will identify with these friends, whose messages to Alicia, along with Alicia’s own art, illustrate the book. Grief counselors, teachers and parents will appreciate this resonant discussion-starter that includes driver safety and grief resources. (212) 779-4400, http://www.leeandlow.com.