cover image Irises


Francisco X. Stork. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-545-15135-1

In this ethically nuanced novel, Stork (Marcelo in the Real World) thrusts a devastating choice on two strong heroines. When their strict minister father dies, two El Paso sisters, 18-year-old Kate, who dreams of going to medical school, and 16-year-old Mary, a talented painter, are left with many painful decisions. At the forefront of their minds are their mother, who has been in a persistent vegetative state for more than two years following a car accident, and their perilous financial situation. Tension escalates when the church plans to evict them, the insurance company denies their father’s policy, and Kate resists pressure to marry her dependable boyfriend. As both sisters change and open up in unexpected ways without their father’s restrictive presence, questions of faith and the girls’ differing beliefs and outlooks provide a powerful theme, further complicated when Kate raises a potentially divisive question: whether to keep their mother on life support. Stork demonstrates his customary skill in creating memorable and multidimensional characters in a story that leaves lingering, contemplative questions regarding death, survival, and love. Agent: Faye Bender Literary Agency. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)