Bridget Flannery and Maureen O'Malley have been BFFs since forever. Then a brief moment of inattention on an icy road leaves one girl dead and the other in a coma, battered beyond recognition. Family and friends mourn one friend's loss and pray for the other's recovery. Then the doctors discover they have made a terrible mistake. The girl who lived is the one who everyone thought had died.
Based on a true case of mistaken identity, All We Know of Heaven is a universal story that no one can read unmoved: a drama of ordinary people caught up in an unimaginable tragedy and of the healing power of hope and love.
Riveting, compassionate and psychologically nuanced, Mitchard's (Now You See Her) second YA novel reimagines the macabre true story that is also the subject of the current bestselling memoir Mistaken Identity(reviewed online). She brings to her treatment an emotional depth that balances the sensational plot: after a car crash, a 16-year-old lies in a coma, wondering at first if she is dead; meanwhile, friends and family bury the girl's best friend, a victim of the same accident. Weeks pass before the girl emerges from the coma and begins trying to say her name-and before various inconsistencies alert the hospital staff that the girls have been misidentified. Both major and minor characters move through this novel with their histories succinctly evoked: readers will understand how each arrives at this shocking moment, and they will marvel at the acuity with which Mitchard moves them forward. As the survivor, Maureen, recovers-incompletely, as she is left with brain injuries-she struggles to redefine herself in the wake of powerful mixed reactions from her small-town community, including both sets of parents, reactions that intensify as she and her late friend's boyfriend explore previously submerged feelings for each other. Utterly gripping, and far more compelling than the factual version. Ages 12-up. (May)
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April 27, 2008
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