Saturday, June 17, 2017

CYCLONE by Doreen Cronin

One ride on a rollercoaster can change your life. Nora experiences this fact firsthand when she blackmails her cousin Riley into riding the Cyclone on Coney Island. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when the ride is over and Riley collapses, Nora realizes life might never be the same.

Riley is rushed to the hospital where it is determined that she has suffered a stroke and has a heart condition no one knew about. As she lays in intensive care, Nora's guilt mounts.

When she is finally able to see her cousin, nothing seems to get better. First there is the coma, then the gradual awakening followed by the realization that Riley can't speak or walk. Does that mean that the horrible threat Nora made to convince her cousin to ride the coaster will remain unknown by the rest of the family? Is losing Riley as a friend because she'll never be normal again worth protecting Nora's terrible secret?

Author Doreen Cronin, known for her children's book CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE, has ventured into middle grade fiction, and this reviewer is thrilled that she has. Cronin's main character is facing the serious illness of a relative for the first time. Faced with an illness that doesn't normally hit someone as young as her cousin, Nora is frightened and confused. Understanding and dealing with the hustle and bustle of the hospital and mind-boggling medical terminology, Nora adjusts as best she can. As she deals with numbing guilt and a family in crisis, Nora learns life is rarely predictable. I'd recommend CYCLONE for ages 12 and up.

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