Thursday, November 24, 2005

Bringing Up the Bones, by Lara M. Zeises

When Benji dies, Bridget doesn't know how to rebuild her life. They weren't even dating by the time he was killed, but that hardly mattered to Benji's parents who always treated her like a member of the family. And it didn't bring her closer to her distant mother or her doting stepfather. As Bridget tries to make some sense of her life, a new boyfriend Jasper enters the scene as now she tries to balance her ties for the old with her hopes for the future, and comes to realize some strong powerful truths that have more to do with herself and less to do with everyone else in her life.

This is categorically one of the best books I have read this year. I question a little whether it is truly a YA book (the jacket says 14+, but I suspect it's really shooting for an older audience based on its R-rated material at the very least). Yet as a novel in itself, it is a fantastic accomplishment. Zeises hits two major topics: (1) coping with grief; and (2) learning that strength comes from within and not from the people we are with. Two very powerful themes, dealt with realistically and with great heart. Unforgettable and highly recommended.

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