Monday, September 12, 2011

Jacquelyn Mitchard. ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN

Bridget and Maureen have been best friends forever. One icy night while driving back from a cheerleading competition, their car swerves and hits an oncoming truck. Both girls are so badly hurt that it's difficult to identify them. The paramedics make an identification based on which girl was driving. Maureen dies and Bridget is badly hurt and left in a coma.

Friends and family mourn Maureen and hold vigil by Bridget's bedside. Danny, Bridget's boyfriend, visits Bridget almost daily to talk and sing to her. Several weeks later, everyone is thrilled when Bridget wakes up. The doctors begin a physical therapy program for her and say that it will be a long road, but that she will begin to get better. All Bridget can say at first is a few syllables. One day when one of her doctors looks at her teeth to begin reconstruction on her jaw, he notices that her dental records don't match her mouth. After putting a few pieces of the puzzle together, including a DNA test, the doctors realize a huge mistake was made. Maureen didn't die - Bridget did.

Both parents are understandably confused, horrified and shocked. The fallout makes for an amazing story. But that's really only the beginning. Maureen's struggle to re-learn how to speak and do basic tasks like grab a glass of water is the real meat of the story. Not only does she have much to overcome physically, but she also struggles emotionally. She feels like people see her as the girl who should've died. She feels like Bridget was the girl everyone loved and she was only the shadow following her. To complicate things further, Danny is spending a lot of time with her. Maureen wonders if he is only trying to stay close to Bridget or if he really likes her. Will she be able to overcome her physical and emotional obstacles and begin to live a normal life again?

The author is incredibly talented to be able to move between so many points of view so easily. I could really feel the emotions behind all of the characters. So many people were affected by the events in the story. Each family was thrown into a tailspin by the accident, and then again when told about the mistaken identity. You can imagine the roller coaster of emotions. The reactions of the family, as well as the entire town were brilliantly written. Maureen is an amazing character. She displayed the frustration you would expect, along with the determination and courage to persevere. Her added sass at the end definitely made her my hero!

This is a moving book that you won't soon forget!
Click here for more young adult novels by Jacquelyn Mitchard.

Also, click below to check out the cool trailer from the author's website: