Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
Emily Horner
2010; Penguin; ISBN 978-0-8037-3420-3 (hardcover)

Summary: The car accident that kills Julia has a huge impact on her best friend, Cass.  Losing Julia makes Cass take a look at her life, dealing with questions she's tried to avoid.  Is Cass a lesbian?  Did she love Julia?  Who is she now without her best friend?  Shifting back and forth between Now (the end of the summer and the beginning of school) and Then (the weeks immediately after Julia's death), Cass begins to find answers to those questions, thanks in part to the musical Julia wrote.  As Cass helps Julia's friends put on the show, she realizes that these are her friends, as well.  Who would think such self-discovery would come from a show called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad?

From debut author Emily Horner comes a moving story about loss and life.  Cass's journey, both internal and external, rings true to the teenage experience.  Just as boys pull the hair of the girls they like, the middle school tormentor becomes Cass's girlfriend: an interesting twist on relationship dynamics.  Full of well-drawn characters and juggling shifts in storyline, this novel offers an in-depth look at one girl's coming of age.  Pair this with My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger for two feel-good reads.

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