cover image The Last Letter

The Last Letter

Susan Pogorzelski. Brown Beagle, $12.99 trade paper (278p) ISBN 978-0-9888751-3-5

Pogorzelski’s exceptional debut shares the challenges, dreams, fleeting optimism, and difficulties of 15-year-old Amelia Lenelli at the turn of the millennium. Adolescence is hard enough, but Amelia is facing other troubles: her physical and mental health are deteriorating. As the symptoms of her mysterious illness worsen—and the attempts to identify a diagnosis continue to fail—her friends disappear into their active lives while Amelia wonders if her own life is ending. She describes her struggles in letters addressed to “Whoever you are,” an imagined reader who fills the companionship void. She hides nothing, sharing the depression—and thoughts of suicide—that can accompany sickness, pubescence, and loneliness. Pogorzelski writes this semiautobiographical novel with authenticity, and her young character displays relentless wisdom in an honest, mouths-of-babes style. (BookLife)