cover image All We Know of Heaven

All We Know of Heaven

Jacquelyn Mitchard, . . HarperTeen, $16.99 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-06-134578-4

Riveting, compassionate and psychologically nuanced, Mitchard's (Now You See Her ) second YA novel reimagines the macabre true story that is also the subject of the current bestselling memoir Mistaken Identity (reviewed online). She brings to her treatment an emotional depth that balances the sensational plot: after a car crash, a 16-year-old lies in a coma, wondering at first if she is dead; meanwhile, friends and family bury the girl's best friend, a victim of the same accident. Weeks pass before the girl emerges from the coma and begins trying to say her name—and before various inconsistencies alert the hospital staff that the girls have been misidentified. Both major and minor characters move through this novel with their histories succinctly evoked: readers will understand how each arrives at this shocking moment, and they will marvel at the acuity with which Mitchard moves them forward. As the survivor, Maureen, recovers—incompletely, as she is left with brain injuries—she struggles to redefine herself in the wake of powerful mixed reactions from her small-town community, including both sets of parents, reactions that intensify as she and her late friend's boyfriend explore previously submerged feelings for each other. Utterly gripping, and far more compelling than the factual version. Ages 12–up. (May)