Saturday, July 5, 2008
ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK by Daphne Grab
Life has suddenly changed for Matisse Osgood. Her father, a famous sculptor, is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The decision to move to a small community in the New York countryside may be the best situation for her ailing father, but Matisse, born and raised in NYC, is totally out of her element.
Matisse's mother, also an artist, seems to think pretending nothing is wrong is the right way to handle both her husband's disease and their sudden move. Matisse doesn't help matters by avoiding her father whenever possible, disagreeing with anything her mother suggests, and constantly moping about the disadvantages of country living.
Adjusting to a new school and making friends is made difficult when Matisse becomes the victim of vicious gossip. After a jealous classmate visits the Osgood home, the rumor begins that Matisse's father is not sick, but instead addicted to prescription drugs. She doesn't want to be treated with pity because of her father's real illness, but she finally realizes the illness is not going away and she begins to recognize the support system that has been right there waiting to help her. Her new friend Violet, Marcus the star quarterback, and her next door neightbor Hal prove to be just what Matisse needs as she comes to terms with her new life.
Author Daphne Grab's first YA novel is one you won't want to miss. She does an excellent job capturing Matisse's free spirit, and at the same time, reveals the heartbreak of facing the serious illness of a family member. ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK should be a part of everyone's collection.