Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jane in Bloom by Deborah Lytton

Jane's always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Lizzie. Lizzie is smarter than she is, more interesting that she is, and prettier than she is. On Jane's 12th birthday, though, everything starts to change. After a fight with their parents over the food she's not eating, Lizzie falls unconscious and is hospitalized. She returns home, but not for long - she soon dies from an overdose of laxatives and diuretics. After her death, the family finds separate ways to cope: her dad by throwing himself into his work, her mom by leaving town, and Jane by looking at the world through the lens of her new digital camera. Jane finds some new friends that help her make sense of everything that has happened.

I haven't read many books like this that are aimed at a middle grade audience, and focus on the sibling left behind. Jane's struggle is evident right from the beginning of the book: she loves her sister but resents being compared to her, she wants Lizzie to be okay but would really just rather get her ears pierced. I liked Jane's growing friendships with people who have also survived loss, and the idea that her art (photography) could be one of the things that helped her to cope. The ending was a little too quick and a little too neat, but I'm glad it ended on the note it did.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Even if it Kills Me by Dorothy Joan Harris
Slob by Ellen Potter
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. LaFleur

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of a book that I read when I was younger called A Summer to Die in which a girl loses her older sister to cancer. It left enough of an impact on me that I still remember the title 17 years after reading it, I have a terrible memory for book titles.