cover image The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance

The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance

Catherine Ryan Hyde. Knopf Publishing Group, $15.99 (228pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83257-4

Binge drinking, rebellious behavior and denial abound in Hyde's rather disappointing novel about a stubborn yet defiantly resilient 14-year-old and her battle with alcohol addiction. Cynnie doesn't exactly hail from the most stable of circumstances. Her older sister, Kiki, has disowned the family; her three-year-old brother, Bill, has Down's Syndrome; and her single mom is always plastered. So, when Cynnie takes off with Snake, her 15-year-old neighbor and possible love interest, a kidnapped Bill, and a bottle of gin, all seems to be righted in her world-until she totals the car and winds up in the hospital. The rest of the novel (aka the road to her recovery) reads basically like one long, grueling 12-step session. Unfortunately, the humor that leavened Hyde's Becoming Chloe is in short supply here, and Cynnie's much-needed period of healing comes off feeling rushed and lacking the weight to carry its otherwise uplifting message through successfully. Readers might have a hard time believing in her struggle-or its rosy outcome. Ages 12-up.