I read two Second Story Press young adult books about loss and recovery back to back, finishing each in a little more then a day.
Breaking Faith by E. Graziani ($12.95) is about Faith Emily Hansen, a teen whose story starts as a little girl who witnesses violence in her housing complex where she lives with her two sisters, her mother and her grandmother. We follow Faith as her family falls apart; her mother abandons them and her sister betrays her. Faith runs away from home and winds up on Toronto’s streets where she is “consumed by the need to ‘chase the dragon’, the heroin addiction that seems to keep the darkness at bay.”
The story is realistic, as are the characters – their thoughts, emotions and experiences.
For example, at one point in the story, Faith wonders why only she seemed to have a problem growing up in her less-than-idea environment whereas her sisters seemed to have done fine.
It’s an interesting point, and one that seems to happen in many families. Three people grow up in the same household, yet each deal with situations differently and have different memories of the greatness of their childhoods.
I really enjoyed the secondary characters, Mrs. Lieberman most of all. She deserves a book all on her own.
Undiscovered Country by Jennifer Gold ($12.95) was also about loss, this time the death of Cat’s mother to cancer. The story flips between the time Before Cat’s mom died, and After, when Cat feels angry and stuck, and leaves her grieving father to volunteer for Students Without Boundaries in a small violent-plagued South American location.
I really liked this book. I enjoyed getting to know more about Cat both Before and After. I was annoyed most of the way through the book at Cat’s mother. I understand that I have no right to judge, having never had to experience my own mortality, however, I feel as though Cat’s mother put her in a terrible position; Cat was forced to be the parent as neither her mother or her father could deal with the mother’s sickness. As I said, I hope never have to be in Cat’s mother’s situation, but I just think, as parents, regardless of the closeness we have with our kids, we have to understand they are still our children and they need us to be strong.
Again, the secondary characters are fabulous, true people who have their own problems and struggles. Another excellent book by Jennifer Gold.