Go to Homepage   Susan Heyboer O'Keefe: My Life and Death by Alexandra Canarsie


Crescent Blues Book ViewsFreestone/Peach Tree Publishers (Hardcover), ISBN 1-56145-264-5
No matter where she ends up, 15 year-old Alexandra Canarsie doesn't fit in. The only thing she fits in is trouble, with a capital "T." Now, she's transplanted to a run-down rental trailer in a small town called Nickel Park. New town, old set of problems -- no friends, no respect, no understanding. A product of a divorce and single parent family, Allie experiences difficulty in coming to terms with both her elders and herself. To pass the time, she attends funerals of people she doesn't know. Things don't look like they can get any worse.

Book: Susan heyboer o'keefe, my life and death by alexandra canarsiOnly when Allie attends the funeral of Jimmy Muller, a boy her own age, she finds purpose in her new life. Feeling connected with Jimmy and his circumstances, Allie becomes convinced his death did not occur accidentally. However, no one -- not the police, Jimmy's best friend Dennis, or Jimmy's oppressive father -- wants to listen. Determined to do something nice for someone, even if that someone happens to be dead, Allie vows to find Jimmy's killer. Unfortunately, an overactive imagination and a big mouth buy her more trouble than she bargains for.

Allie suffers from real teenage angst and agonies, problems with family, grades, strained relationships, identity crises and awkwardness with the opposite sex. Although her attitude and social circumstances label her an outcast, underneath lies a compassionate person with a good heart. Made up of parts that don't seem to fit together, Alexandra Canarsie is a character that teens will identify with.

Allie's compelling first-person narrative proves insightful, humorous and suspenseful. As relationships become more strained and the mystery unravels, Allie gets closer to finding the truth about Jimmy's death and herself. The intriguing premise, fast-paced plot, real characters and satisfying resolution make this novel a page turner worthy of young adults and adults alike.

Susan Heyboer O'Keefe's first young adult novel soars. Highly recommended!

Lynne Remick

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