cover image Signs of Life

Signs of Life

Jean Ferris. Farrar Straus Giroux, $14 (121pp) ISBN 978-0-374-36909-5

Shattered by the recent death of her twin sister, 17-year-old Hannah has little hope that a family vacation to Lascaux, France, site of the famous cave paintings, will lift her spirits. The last thing she expects is to fall in love with a Gypsy. Hannah, however, cannot help being attracted to Stefan Kremo, a professional juggler she meets on a river bank. Stefan, a member of a traveling circus, helps Hannah rediscover a psychological dexterity she has not experienced since the night her sister was killed. The backdrop of mysterious caves serves not only as a romantic landscape but also as a connection to Hannah's subconscious yearnings. Through a cycle of dreams about a primitive girl creating paintings on stone, Hannah relives the tragedies of her past and learns how to survive the present. Both a love story and a study of grief, Ferris's (Relative Strangers) tender novel celebrates the regenerating power of love and the resiliency of the spirit. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)