Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Woolston's morbid and layered debut delves into the shattered life of 16-year-old Loa, whose younger sister, Asta, died of a genetic mutation and who, more recently, lost a friend in a tragic accident. Loa suffers the effects of PTSD, including vivid nightmares and flashbacks, which are gracefully written and interspersed throughout. Amid their grief over Asta's death and financial problems, Loa's parents neglect her pain as the family tries to scrape by. "After all those years of fighting hard, we lost. Now we get drunk. We hit each other. When the truck won't start, we punch the windshield so hard the shatterproof glass breaks. Is this depression or anger?" she asks. Loa is strong, but overburdened and isolated; laced with bleak humor, her deadened, searching narration carries this dark and highly promising first novel. The chapters begin with questions or statements, usually drawn from physics, biology, or math, which tie in to Loa's struggles ("What should you do if you are stuck on frictionless ice? Assume you are nude and there is no atmospheric resistance") as she tries to find her way. Ages 12-18. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Sixteen-year-old Loa's story begins in a tangle of turmoil. She witnesses a truck strike and kill her friend Esther, an event that too vividly brings back memories of the death of Loa's sister, who suffered complications from Rett syndrome. Loa's parents are angered and haunted by the cruel turns of their lives, so Loa focuses upon her desultory job and her way-out-there astrophysics homework. Woolston's talent for dialogue and her unique approach to scenes make what sounds standard about this story feel fresh and vital. What is most surprising and rewarding, though, is how the novel deprioritizes these dramatic elements to follow the flow of Loa's life it's difficult to move on from trauma, but sometimes you just can't help it. A nebulous sexual relationship with a boy who posts pictures of himself and Loa on the Internet provides much of the push-and-pull, but it's a new friendship with an odd boy at her new school that offers the best chance of relief. A strong debut about learning to see yourself apart from the reflection you cast off others.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-Sixteen-year-old Loa Lindgren's family is emotionally splintered and drifting following the death of her younger sister Asta, whose Rett syndrome necessitated constant care and kept the family on a rigid schedule. Plagued by PTSD and nightmares about death, Loa clings to household chores, watching over her younger brother, and her beloved physics to rebuild a sense of normalcy. With no real plot, the novel feels fragmentary, mirroring the protagonist's feelings of disconnection. Incidents such as the death of her classmate in the opening pages, Loa's extra-credit physics project on the phenomenon of the freak observer (Boltzmann brain paradox), and her failed relationship with her debate partner are explained in chunks of narrative scattered throughout the text, which may confuse some readers. However, the author has created a likable narrator in Loa. Readers will root for a happy ending, though probably not be surprised by the deliberately ambiguous one that nonetheless hints at a hopeful future. Teens will either love or loathe the book with no middle ground likely for such a unique, disturbing, creative story.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Woolston's morbid and layered debut delves into the shattered life of 16-year-old Loa, whose younger sister, Asta, died of a genetic mutation and who, more recently, lost a friend in a tragic accident. Loa suffers the effects of PTSD, including vivid nightmares and flashbacks, which are gracefully written and interspersed throughout. Amid their grief over Asta's death and financial problems, Loa's parents neglect her pain as the family tries to scrape by. "After all those years of fighting hard, we lost. Now we get drunk. We hit each other. When the truck won't start, we punch the windshield so hard the shatterproof glass breaks. Is this depression or anger?" she asks. Loa is strong, but overburdened and isolated; laced with bleak humor, her deadened, searching narration carries this dark and highly promising first novel. The chapters begin with questions or statements, usually drawn from physics, biology, or math, which tie in to Loa's struggles ("What should you do if you are stuck on frictionless ice? Assume you are nude and there is no atmospheric resistance") as she tries to find her way. Ages 12-18. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Sixteen-year-old Loa's story begins in a tangle of turmoil. She witnesses a truck strike and kill her friend Esther, an event that too vividly brings back memories of the death of Loa's sister, who suffered complications from Rett syndrome. Loa's parents are angered and haunted by the cruel turns of their lives, so Loa focuses upon her desultory job and her way-out-there astrophysics homework. Woolston's talent for dialogue and her unique approach to scenes make what sounds standard about this story feel fresh and vital. What is most surprising and rewarding, though, is how the novel deprioritizes these dramatic elements to follow the flow of Loa's life it's difficult to move on from trauma, but sometimes you just can't help it. A nebulous sexual relationship with a boy who posts pictures of himself and Loa on the Internet provides much of the push-and-pull, but it's a new friendship with an odd boy at her new school that offers the best chance of relief. A strong debut about learning to see yourself apart from the reflection you cast off others.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-Sixteen-year-old Loa Lindgren's family is emotionally splintered and drifting following the death of her younger sister Asta, whose Rett syndrome necessitated constant care and kept the family on a rigid schedule. Plagued by PTSD and nightmares about death, Loa clings to household chores, watching over her younger brother, and her beloved physics to rebuild a sense of normalcy. With no real plot, the novel feels fragmentary, mirroring the protagonist's feelings of disconnection. Incidents such as the death of her classmate in the opening pages, Loa's extra-credit physics project on the phenomenon of the freak observer (Boltzmann brain paradox), and her failed relationship with her debate partner are explained in chunks of narrative scattered throughout the text, which may confuse some readers. However, the author has created a likable narrator in Loa. Readers will root for a happy ending, though probably not be surprised by the deliberately ambiguous one that nonetheless hints at a hopeful future. Teens will either love or loathe the book with no middle ground likely for such a unique, disturbing, creative story.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.