Sally Warner, Author . Viking $15.99 (209p) ISBN 978-0-670-03574-8

Warner (Sort of Forever) relays another moving story of loss and healing. An eerily quiet scene opens the story: a shocked 11-year-old discovers herself alone in the middle of the desert at night. Soon the girl, Janey, realizes that she and her five-year-old sister, YoYo, were thrown from the family car after a crash caused by a drunk driver; the girls' parents were killed. YoYo has escaped unscathed, physically, but Janey is injured and will need extensive plastic surgery to reverse the serious damage to her face. The girls are placed with their only relatives, their grandfather and his not terribly sympathetic younger sister, Aunt Baby, who share a house in California, far away from the girls' Arizona home. While there are other insightful, equally well-written novels with a similar premise, Warner's offers a twist—Aunt Baby (who Janey overhears angrily telling a social worker, "If I'd wanted kids, I would have had them") aggressively pursues a civil lawsuit against the driver, with the aim of getting "compensation." While Aunt Baby claims, "This isn't about the money," the issue further complicates the grieving Janey's already conflicted feelings. Embarrassed and guilty that her grandfather can no longer afford to retire, she also knows that the court case is, in fact, about money. Although the resolution is just slightly too neat, it is also heartbreaking. Readers will be gripped. Ages 9-12. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Paperback - 209 pages - 978-0-14-240221-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-3653-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-32724-4
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