cover image Dear Anjali: I Hate That You're Dead

Dear Anjali: I Hate That You're Dead

Melissa Glenn Haber, S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9599-9

Unable to make sense of her best friend Anjali's sudden death, 12-year-old Meredith finds a way to fill the void by writing Anjali letters. Her series of brief, unrestrained epistles capture her onslaught of mixed emotions, ranging from shock ("mostly I've been feeling all wierd and numb, like your cheek feels after you've been mauled at the dentist") and loneliness ("I wanted to shout NO I NEVER WANTED TO BE ALONE but apparently the universe was not listening") to the guilt experienced when she begins spending time with Noah, the boy Anjali liked. Discovering that Noah and Anjali had already begun a relationship without her knowledge further complicates Meredith's sentiments, and she begins to wonder if she really knew her best friend at all. Although the novel perhaps relies too heavily on gimmicks (such as Meredith's repeated misspellings of words) for comic relief, Haber (The Pluto Project) shows a keen understanding of adolescent woes and provides a gratifying, realistic coming to terms with internal conflicts. Ages 9–13. (July)