Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Jane in Bloom

Jane in Bloom
Deborah Lytton
2009; Penguin; 978-0-525-42078-1 (hardcover)

Summary: In the Holden family, Lizzie was a star. Beautiful, smart, popular--Lizzie seemed perfect to everyone. The only person who didn't see it was Lizzie. When Lizzie's eating disorder spirals out of control, her accidental death wrecks her family. For Lizzie's younger sister Jane, it's hard to accept the loss of her sister and the way her life has changed. She always thought her parents loved Lizzie more, and now they're stuck with plain Jane. But slowly, Jane begins to recover from her grief, thanks in part to a puppy, an older woman's wisdom, and a camera.

A sensitive, quiet study of grieving, Jane in Bloom shows the impact of loss on a family. Jane's story and emotions are the main focus, but we also see change in both of her parents as they grieve Lizzie. In addition, there are memorable characters, both human (Ethel, the woman who helps care for Jane) and canine (Kona, Jane's new puppy). These individuals help Jane start to grow stronger, enabling her to start using a camera to work through her grief and discover all the beauty there is in the world, even though Lizzie is gone. Sad but hopeful, this debut novel by Deborah Lytton will appeal to readers who have enjoyed Lurlene McDaniel's novels.

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