Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Edwidge Danticat
Sixteen-year-old twins Giselle and Isabelle were born holding hands - the doctors had to separate them in order to deliver them properly. On the day that their family gets into a car crash, the girls are again holding hands, only to be ripped apart once more when Isabelle dies from her injuries and Giselle lives. As Giselle recovers, she goes through her abundance of memories with Isabelle, their parents, and their friends to fully examine what might have led to the crash that day, as well as hold on to her sister's memory as long as possible. Thanks to some good doctors and loving family, Giselle pulls herself back from the edge and finds the strength to keep living life, even though she knows that her heart will never be fully whole again.
Told in a unique prose style, flashing quickly from memories to the present, Edwidge Danticat weaves a beautiful story of family, love, and loss. Although the events in the novel are heart-achingly sad, she finds a way to tell the story of Giselle and Isabelle in a real and meaningful way. The characters are vividly three-dimensional, with real flaws and real strengths. The author also normalizes and explains a bit more about Haitian culture, since the girls' parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti when they were young. This book is a touching story that will leave young readers feeling grateful for what they have and confident in people's abilities to regain strength and live on after tragedy.
*Contains moderate violence.