cover image Cyclone


Doreen Cronin. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3525-3

A trip to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone roller coaster ends in tragedy for 12-year-old Nora and her 13-year-old cousin, Riley. Moments after their ride, Riley has a stroke and is rushed to the hospital, leading to the discovery of an undiagnosed heart condition. Nora is certain that the Cyclone (and her blackmailing Riley into riding it) led the blood clot in Riley’s heart to dislodge, causing the stroke. As Riley works to regain her verbal and motor skills, Nora faces her haunting choices and Riley’s difficult new reality. Footnotes in Nora’s voice provide commentary and relevant information (they frequently explain medical terms) in accessible, friendly language. Nora’s reaction to Riley’s stroke and recovery is exceedingly believable—she’s supportive, frustrated, angry, and scared—as is the way she reckons with her guilt and her anger at Riley, caused by an argument they had just before the accident. Moreover, Cronin (the Chicken Squad series) smartly uses the girls’ mothers, who are sisters, to provide another mirror for the complexity of female relationships that Nora is just beginning to understand. Ages 9–13. [em]Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (May) [/em]