Posts Tagged 'coping with loss'

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

alongfor ride

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/ Romance

# of Pages:  383 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Like other Dessen books, Along for the Ride follows a teenage girl, Auden, who is trying to enjoy the summer before her freshman year in college.  Her entire life she has worked hard at academics and let everything else fall away.  Her parents are divorced and both authors and professors, so there has always been a lot of pressure to excel.  Auden’s older brother, Hollis, is more of a free spirit and has been backpacking through Europe for almost two years.  Meanwhile, Auden’s dad recently remarried and had a baby girl.  When life with her overbearing mother gets too difficult she decides to spend the summer with her dad and Heidi in their small beach town.  Heidi is having trouble adjusting to life with a newborn since Auden’s dad spends all of his time locked in his office working on his next book.  Auden meets a troubled young man who seems to open up to her when he won’t talk to anyone else about the horrific event in his past.  As Auden navigates her own life she learns a lot from those around her.

Dessen portrays in this story how easy it can be for anyone to pass judgment on another person while not taking responsibility for his or her own choices.  In the end, many of the characters learn that in order to truly be happy you have to try things that are scary, which can be anything from relationships to riding a bike, even if that means you might fail.  In other words, playing it safe does not make for a satisfying life without regrets.  Auden’s family has always judged anyone who does not consider academics to be the most important thing to be beneath them.  During this summer of enlightenment, Auden begins to see that each person should be able to make his or her personal decisions about how to live life to the fullest and those people should have the benefit of not being judged for those choices.  A page turner!

Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  280 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Liz’s grandmother, Bunny, dies before the book begins and Liz watches as her mother sinks further and further into a depression.  Liz and everyone else loved Bunny too, but she feels helpless as she watches her mother withdraw from everything important to her.  Meanwhile, the mean old lady across the street has some new visitors.  Liz learns that these visitors are her estranged daughter who is very sick and her two children.  Nathan is about Liz’s age and extremely angry about the fact that his mother is dying.  Courtney is younger and no one seems to want to tell her the true prognosis of her mother’s condition.  As Liz struggles with everything around her the one constant is her love of the piano.  She finds that playing the piano can help her cope with anything, but can she help those around her find their own ways of coping?

This story about life and death reaches out to everyone.  It illustrates how differently people handle loss and how all of their relationships are affected by it.  It also shows how important it is to communicate with people you care about, whether it be during a difficult or easy time.  When people fail to communicate with each other about anything it can cause tension and lead to bigger problems later on.