cover image Ruptured


Joanne Rossmassler Fritz. Holiday House, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5233-0

Engaging verse ferries vulnerable emotion as poet Fritz (Everywhere Blue) excavates hope from medical drama in this quietly powerful story about healing. While vacationing in Maine, bookish 13-year-old Claire Sloan mourns her parents’ relationship, which has grown strained. When her mother confides to Claire that she’s going to end the marriage, then abruptly suffers a brain-bleed, Claire is conflicted: full recovery means that Mom will proceed with the divorce. Further interpersonal turmoil prompts Claire to cultivate new ways to manage her feelings; she finds comfort in writing, photography, bibliotherapy, and fortified friendships. As she comes to terms with the harrowing event, Claire asserts that while nothing is quite as it was, the experiences she gained through the hardship are invaluable, and “for now that’s enough.” Gently educational, hopeful text—which teems with potent imagery of water and light—is occasionally interspersed with skillfully crafted villanelle and nonet poems that guide the story to its stirring conclusion. Fritz utilizes her own experiences having survived two aneurysms, as discussed in an author’s note, to infuse Claire’s recognition of her own courage and growing resilience with heartening resonance. The Sloan family is white; supporting characters are racially diverse. Ages 8–12. [em](Nov.) [/em]