cover image GOD AND I BROKE UP


Katarina Mazetti, Katerina Mazetti, , trans. by Maria Lundin. . Groundwood, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-88899-584-1

Wrought with intelligence, wit and candor, this novel by a Swedish author offers a convincing portrait of a teen suffering alternate bouts of anger and guilt after her best friend's suicide. In order to make sense of Pia's death, 16-year-old Linnea looks backward, retracing a relationship that lasted "120 days total, excluding weekends." Chronologically arranged memories convey Pia as a strong, opinionated girl, standing up for less confident Linnea as regularly and fiercely as she breaks boys' hearts ("She dropped guys just as fast as she picked them up and I don't think they ever knew what hit them," Linnea recalls). Although Pia rarely discusses her personal life with Linnea, she is always ready to share her rather unorthodox views on love, religion ("Once I seriously wondered whether the ocean itself could be God... But when I thought about it, all I could come up with was this sad sea-god with wilted seaweed and old milk cartons drooping from his head," Pia comments) and, ironically, death. Readers, who will sense the close bond between the girls, need to read between the lines of Linnea's narrative to find what drives Pia to take her own life. Like Linnea, they may not be able to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together, but they will come away from this novel with an enhanced respect for life and friendship. Ages 13-up. (Nov.)