Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart

Jane St. Anthony. Univ. of Minnesota, $14.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-8166-9799-1
St. Anthony (Grace Above All) packs substantial emotion into a slim volume as she introduces eighth-grader Isabelle Day, who has moved from Milwaukee to Minneapolis after her father dies. Isabelle isn’t happy about having left her best friend behind, not to mention her family’s three-story house, a far cry from the duplex she and her mother now share with two nosy landladies. Isabelle’s worries, skepticism, and sense of humor (“Life was complicated enough without two crones asking her questions or pinching her arm to see if she was plump enough to push into the oven for dinner”) make for a lively read. The story is set in the 1960s, though St. Anthony keeps the period details light, leaving it to readers to pick up on references to TV shows like The Twilight Zone and The Guiding Light. Slowly, Isabelle recovers from her trauma (readers learn how her father died toward the end of the novel) and embraces new people and experiences. Well-drawn characters distinguish an understated story about facing loss and keeping an eye out for moments of brightness during difficult times. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-0-8166-9922-3
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