Wednesday, June 20, 2018

From You to Me by K. A. Holt

Three years after her sister Clare drowned, Amelia is still grieving.  She is determined to take 8th grade by storm and not be the girl who cries about her dead sister all the time.  Her plan takes a serious hit when she is accidentally given a letter Clare wrote to herself on the first day of sixth grade.  Faced with a list of Clare's plans for the future, Amelia allows her best friend to convince her to complete the list on Clare's behalf.  Now Amelia is committed to doing things she would never have considered on her own.

This is such a gentle book of loss and healing and forgiveness.  Holt has an easy way of leading her readers to deep emotions without any obvious machinations or heavy-handed messaging.  Amelia is a completely sympathetic character struggling with her grief and guilt.  Of course she said something mean to her sister before she died but that's not even the main plot point at play here as it would be in many other books about grieving.  Amelia's just having an extremely hard time moving on because losing someone you love is impossible! On top of Amelia's struggles, I really enjoyed the secondary characters who were supportive but also not perfectly so as they made mistakes and became annoyed with Amelia's sadness.  Like real people.  And Amelia's annoyance with her mom about everything was just pitch perfect - speaking as someone who was a teen daughter and someone who had a teen daughter.  As for emotional, sensory investment... 1. All I could think about for the first third of the book was what kind of cheeses I had in the fridge and how they would combine in a grilled cheese sandwich and 2. I figured there was going to be some sort of cathartic scene and thought I was prepared for it until I started crying in a restaurant while eating lunch when the damn star said "Rosalie" on it!

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