Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-944995-24-9 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-10
Sixteen-year-old Krista’s most recent obsession is driving her new black and yellow VW beetle past the house at 758, the house of the boy she holds responsible for her mother’s death. What exactly she hopes to accomplish during these drivebys is unclear, but what is clear is that only a year and a half after the tragic event, everyone seems to have moved swiftly on—with or without her. Krista didn’t ask for her father’s annoying new girlfriend (and her part-time children) to move in, she isn’t interested in Jake, the only kid in school (besides her best friend) who refuses to see her as “the girl whose mom died, ” and she definitely didn’t anticipate collecting and later writing her family’s Holocaust story with her soft-spoken Hungarian grandfather. As she struggles to make sense of a world without her mother, though, Krista realizes that while bad things may happen, power and healing come with empathy and understanding—neither of which she has given the boy at 758. A story of grief and coping, this title tackles the weight and confusion of losing a parent with no true place to set blame. There is an honesty and rawness to Krista’s narration as she acknowledges the extreme highs and lows of her thoughts and emotions. The gradual revealing of the story of Krista’s mother’s death will prompt readerly consideration of moral beliefs, mental wellness, class structures, and the definition of justice. Readers will appreciate this glimpse into the messy and complicated journey towards renewal and healing.