Go to Homepage   Gina Willner-Pardo: My Mom and Other Mysteries of the Universe


Crescent Blues Book ViewsClarion Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-618-43020-2

As far as personalities go, Arlie Metcalfe and her mother Lacey seem like two planets on opposite sides of the solar system. Arlie lacks perfection; her mother overflows with it. Arlie believes she'll never, in a million light years, make her mother as happy as her little brother Michael does. So, when her Mom and Dad take a business trip, Arlie feels relieved. She looks forward to living with Aunt Isabelle, her mom's much younger, light-hearted and loving sister.

Book:gina willner-pardo, my mom and other mysteries of the universe

After Arlie's parents leave, she senses change in the air. Suddenly, a new girl shows up in her fifth grade class. Unlike the other kids Arlie's age (11), Casey's neat, plain and perfect. Arlie sees unbelievable similarities between Casey and her own mother. Is someone trying to tell her something?

Then Arlie's mother gets into a car accident and slips into a coma. As Arlie struggles with unresolved feelings of love and hate for her mother, she tries to know and understand Casey. On the way to discovery, Arlie realizes that things (and people) aren't always exactly as they appear on the outside.

The fascinating premise and common teen problems experienced by the main character (a difficult relationship with a mother and sibling rivalry) make this novel a must read. The author deals with the issues in such a way as to change even the reader's perception of Arlie's seemingly hopeless situations with her mother and brother. The resolution, while somewhat implausible, will perhaps inspire readers to look a little deeper into someone they don't understand and to give them a second chance.

Lynne Marie Pisano

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