by Tracey Porter
Publisher: Harper Teen
May 24, 2011
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When sixteen-year-old Lark Austin is kidnapped from her Virginia hometown and left for dead in a snowy forest, she leaves behind two girls who are shocked by the loss of their former friend. At the same time Eve must face the hole left by Lark’s absence, she also can’t shake the guilt that Lark’s death was her fault. Meanwhile, Nyetta is haunted by Lark’s ghost, who comes through the bedroom window and begs Nyetta to set her soul free. Eve and Nyetta realize it is their responsibility to uncover why Lark is trapped in limbo, but only by coming together to find the missing pieces of themselves can they bring peace to Lark.
Told in alternating sections by each of the three heroines, Tracey Porter’s stunning narrative about love and loss demonstrates that forgiveness can never come too late.
Although a short book, this is some pretty heavy reading. The content is difficult to tackle yet the message is paramount.
Essentially, there are three protagonists; Lark, Eve, and Nyetta. Each girl is isolated from any kind of support group. Each is suffocating and dying either physically or metaphorically. Lark is a 17 year old girl who is kidnapped, brutally beat, stabbed, raped, and left to die. Don't think these events are tap danced around. The author recites the brutality of her attacks and death.
Eve and Lark used to be best friends but while Lark continued with her physical training in diving and then gymnastics, Eve suffers from sexual molestation that occurred a few years earlier by a trusted adult. Eve withdraws.
Nyette is Lark's babysitting buddy. Only 12 years old, she is homeschooled and lives with her academic and emotionally dead mother. Her father left the family and married a granola-eating-yoga woman who keeps an imperfectly clean house and bakes her own bread. Meanwhile, Nyette is used as courier by both parents. "Tell you father that..."
All three girls yearn for connection. All need to be healed. Even in death, Lark requires some connection.
I would suggest this book for a youth book club in high school where the issues can be frankly discussed. I would also suggest this book in bibliotherapy for the teenager who has recently lost a friend to a violent and purposeful death.
As the book suggests, I would recommend a support group.