It's Liz's eighteenth birthday, and it seems that life couldn't get much better. She had a party with her closest friends, her stepsister, and her super cute boyfriend out on her family's boat, complete with cocktails and birthday cake. But then, before anyone else is awake, she finds her body in the water just off the boat, and she meets up with Alex Berg, a classmate who died in a hit-and-run accident a year earlier. Liz is hovering somewhere between life and death, and she has no idea why, or how to change the situation. And to make it all the more frustrating, she has almost no solid memories of her life. With Alex's help, she finds that she is able to slip into flashbacks of her life -- more than just memories. As more of the gaps of her life fill in, we begin to uncover some of Liz's dirty little secrets of Liz's . . . We learn that life is often more than what it seems to be on the surface, and that some of us will do anything to protect ourselves and the ones we love - we might be willing to die, and we might even be willing to kill.
A mix of mystery and paranormal, this is a striking story placed among a bunch of rich, over-entitled kids. Perhaps, a bit over-the-top and over-emotional, some humor finds its way through the cracks at times, especially through the subtle character of Alex. This title will stand out for those who liked books like Before I Fall, Elsewhere, and If I Stay. Recommended to high school readers; there's some tough stuff here.
Reviewed by kate the librarian.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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