Friday, August 24, 2012
LIFE HAPPENS NEXT by Terry Trueman
Shawn is alive and well. Well, as alive and well as can be expected for an about to be fifteen year old with severe cerebral palsy. Shawn has never walked, talked, or been able to care for himself. Only his dreams and his grand mal seizures offer him a chance to feel free of the body that holds him prisoner.
Glad to be alive, Shawn is still looking for a reason that would explain why someone with such a disability would even be born. He gets some pleasure from watching his brother and sister enjoying life. They include him as much as they can. Shawn thinks he might have found a reason to live as he watches his sister's friend Ally. She is amazing, and he just might be in love with her.
It doesn't take long for Shawn to realize that Ally has eyes for his brother, and the feelings seem to go both ways. Frustrating as it is, Shawn tries to take comfort in knowing his brother is a good choice for Ally and they seem happy.
When a forty-one year old woman with Down syndrome moves in, Shawn is fascinated with the idea of sharing his home with another "retarded" person. What is most interesting is that Shawn discovers Debi may not seem connected to the world around her, but she actually sees more deeply than anyone. She may be the only person to understand what life is like for Shawn.
Author Terry Trueman wowed me when I first read STUCK IN NEUTRAL in 2000. Through the years it has inspired many of my students. I never thought about the possibility of a sequel other than CRUISE CONTROL told from the point of view of Shawn's brother. I'm so glad Trueman chose to continue Shawn's story, and I can't wait to share it with others.