Eireann Corrigan, Author . Scholastic $16.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-439-53597-7

Told in hard-hitting free verse, Corrigan's (You Remind Me of You ) sometimes raw, often gripping novel chronicles the aftereffects of a violent assault on a dysfunctional family. The speakers alternate between the younger but tougher sister, 15-year-old Paulie, and the middle brother, Jeremy. Each is haunted by the crime: the family had gone to comfort the eldest daughter, Mimi, briefly separated from her husband, when a knife-wielding intruder broke into Mimi's house. In retrospect, Paulie is swamped by fear following her heroic defense of their mother and Mimi, and Jeremy by shame after his flight to the basement while their father confronted the attacker. Corrigan does not develop the two characters equally. Whereas Jeremy's issues seem a little simplified and his responses a bit static, Paulie's problems are legion (estrangement from friends; a poor choice of boyfriend and first sexual experience; nightmares; the residual effects of an abusive mother). The poems offer insight into sibling relationships, rivalries and misunderstandings, as the brother and sister each rage against the other, struggle at cross-purposes and find ways to reach each other across the parentally imposed silences and secrets. The author does not demonize the parents, however, and in some of the most thought-provoking verses the children muse about evidence of love they had never noticed before. Although this novel captures several kinds of splintering, its climax imparts hope of a solid healing. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 184 pages - 978-0-439-48992-8
Prebound-Other - 184 pages - 978-0-606-33304-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-31441-1
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