What do you say to someone whose mother is dying?
Nathan and his adorable little sister just moved in across the street from Liz Scattergood, and both of them could use a friend. Liz just isn't sure she's the right person.
Liz has been coping with tough questions all summer. Ever since Liz's grandmother Bunny died, Liz's mother hasn't been the same; she's even started attending a spiritualist church that claims it can contact Bunny on the Other Side. Liz isn't sure she believes it, but she does know the service gives her mother comfort -- something no one else can seem to do at all.
As Liz and Nathan become closer, and the summer draws nearer to its bitter end, questions of faith, mortality, and spirituality come to the forefront of their intimate friendship. There are no easy answers, but together they may nonetheless find hope, comfort, and love.
Wittlinger's (Sandpiper) heartfelt novel shows how loss can tear families apart and sometimes bring strangers together. Fifteen-year-old Liz Scattergood is still reeling from the death of her vivacious grandmother, Bunny, when she meets Nathan, a new neighbor whose mother is dying of leukemia. The two teens find in each other the kind of comfort and support that is absent from their respective households. Liz helps ease Nathan's difficult transition moving in with his cantankerous grandmother, and urges him to open up to his younger sister, who doesn't know that their mother's illness is terminal. In turn, Nathan provides consolation when Liz finds herself caught between feuding parents: her father, who has given up on religion altogether and her self-absorbed mother, who has recently joined a spiritualist church, hoping to find a way to communicate with Bunny. Told from Liz's point of view, the novel tenderly explores how grief affects individuals differently as it surfaces in angry outbursts, feelings of loneliness, desperate attempts to regain what has been lost and moments of introspection. As Liz works through her own emotional turmoil, she learns to recognize, tolerate and respond to others' pain. Ages 12-up.