Someone Else’s Shoes

Ellen Wittlinger. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-58089-749-5
This middle grade book by Printz Honor author Wittlinger (Saturdays with Hitchcock) shows the grief, anger, and outright havoc that suicide can leave in its wake. Twelve-year-old narrator Izzy, an aspiring comic, feels low about her father’s new marriage and impending baby, but that’s nothing compared to her 10-year-old cousin Oliver’s devastation after his mother commits suicide. Oliver and his father move in with Izzy and her mother in the aftermath; they are soon joined by Ben, the tough 16-year-old son of her mother’s boyfriend, who needs a place to stay. Izzy and Ben’s relationship is combative, but Oliver, whose father is barely functioning after his wife’s death, immediately takes to Ben, and when Oliver’s father disappears, the three embark on a road trip to find him that brings them together. The book, which starts slow, picks up speed as the trio perseveres despite limited funds and other setbacks, and Wittlinger’s realistic portrayal of loss makes for a satisfying ending as the three build on their connection. Ages 10–up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2018
Release date: 09/11/2018
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