Monday, February 22, 2010

JANE IN BLOOM by Deborah Lytton

Jane loves her sister Lizzie but is forever in her shadow.  Lizzie gets straight A's, while Jane simply earns perfect attendance.  Lizzie is perfect, and Jane is merely average.

JANE IN BLOOM begins on Jane's twelfth birthday.  She can hardly wait to get up and head downstairs.  Today is the day she gets her ears pierced.  According to her, she is the only girl in the entire world without them.  But first she pauses outside their shared bathroom and listens as the water runs and Lizzie does whatever it is that Lizzie does.

Jane's special day begins to spiral out of control almost immediately as Lizzie at first refuses to come to the breakfast table, and once she does, refuses to eat any of the special birthday pancakes.  After three reluctant bites, Lizzie rushes upstairs and the next thing Jane knows is her mother is screaming and her sister is being carried away in an ambulance.

Pierced ears are quickly forgotten and replaced with visiting her sister in what looks to be the psych-ward of the local hospital.  Jane can't believe that her perfect sister is lying in bed with a tube connected to her arm and her wrists strapped to the bedrails.  When Lizzie returns home after several days, things get even worse.  She refuses to change, and their parents fight constantly.

The world totally collapses on the day Jane returns home from school to discover another ambulance in the driveway.  This time the paramedics leave with Lizzie and promise that the autopsy will reveal her cause of death.  How can she and what's left of her family ever survive?

JANE IN BLOOM is the heart-wrenching story of loss and recovery.  Author Deborah Lytton does an amazing job revealing the intense emotions experienced by each member of Jane's family.  The grieving process is handled differently by each individual as they come to terms with what it means to lose Lizzie.  This one is sure to bring readers to tears, but at the same time provide encouragement and hope. 

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