From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Sisters Hope and Lizzie are also best friends; Lizzie, the elder sibling, has looked after Hope since she was an infant. When Lizzie suddenly becomes suicidal, though, Hope is bewildered, but she gradually realizes that she may have some insight into the roots of Lizzie's depression. Glimpses into her memories and her dreams unfold a story of neglect and abuse that will haunt both Hope and the reader alike. Williams tells a brutal, gripping story through the veiled language of free verse, choosing her words and Hope's memories with careful intent. Although the descriptions are not graphic, Williams leaves little doubt about Lizzie's trauma, their mother's role in her older daughter's fate, and the lack of a perfect resolution to both girls' pain. The unresolved ending is realistic, but it is hopeful, too, and it includes a tribute to caring friends and adults who struggle daily to rescue children from untenable situations.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Williams (The Chosen One) opens her latest novel with a bang-almost. Written in spare yet resonant verse ("Last night/ me and Lizzie/ sit/ in the dark,/ sit on my bed,/ in the quiet of/ night./ We're all grown up,/ I think./ But we are/ having us some/ troubles"), the book is told from the unreliable perspective of 12-year-old Hope, whose 14-year-old sister, Lizzie, threatens to shoot herself on page one. Lizzie is hauled off to a mental hospital, but the reason behind the suicide attempt remains unclear-even to Hope. As the story progresses, clues about the girls' upbringing are revealed in a series of flashbacks. Hope's memories paint a picture of sporadic sisterly bonding (secret club meetings in the attic, lip-synching to Jesus Christ Superstar), while other incidents (their father's death, Lizzie's crying spells, their alcoholic mother's abusive temper and prostitution) hint at a darker reality. Williams's decision to wait until the end to divulge the cause of Lizzie's misery is a gamble, but one that works. The truth- exposed after Hope reads her sister's diary-is appalling. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal
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Gr 9 Up-Lizzie and Hope learned long ago that they had to watch out for one another. Their neglectful mother, who turns tricks for a living, has left the girls to fend for themselves for nearly as long as they can remember. Yet when Hope walks in on Lizzie and finds her holding a gun, everything changes. After Lizzie is sent to a psych ward, her sister is left to wonder when and why things got so bad. Though Lizzie's terrible secret will be quickly evident to readers, Hope's painful, yet poignant, self-realizations unfold more slowly. This well-paced, raw novel-in-verse is a worthy purchase, especially for Ellen Hopkins's fans who are looking for another verse novel in which teens overcome dire circumstances.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.