Baby Alicia Is Dying

Lurlene McDaniel, Author
Lurlene McDaniel, Author Laurel Leaf Library $5.5 (192p) ISBN 978-0-553-29605-1
Prebound-Other - 185 pages - 978-0-606-05131-6
Prebound-Glued - 192 pages - 978-0-7857-1213-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-04662-7
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With her usual melodramatic flair, McDaniel ( Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep ) wrings out another sad story line, this one centering on a ninth grader who volunteers at a home for HIV-positive babies. Caring for the infants fills a void for Desi, who has always been overshadowed by her older sister, Val, a tennis ace. With her beloved Val recently gone off to college, Desi's mother has taken a full-time job, and she has little time for or interest in her younger daughter's activities. She certainly doesn't understand Desi's growing attachment to Alicia, a five-month-old who was abandoned by her mother at birth. Given the novel's tell-all title, there is no suspense surrounding the direction of the plot, which explores Desi's grief over the baby's death--as well as her reconciliation with her troubled mother. McDaniel's theatrical prose and her characters' occasionally contrived statements (``Maybe if I didn't care so much, this wouldn't hurt so bad'') probably won't bother her young fans, who will wipe away more than one tear. And, as always, the author gives her tale's dark cloud a suitably silver lining. Ages 10-up. (June)
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