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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Love, Aubrey* by Suzanne LaFleur- young readers book review
Love, Aubrey
by Suzanne LaFleur
Grades 4-6 272 pages Wendy Lamb Books June 2009 Hardcover    

Dealing honestly with the issues of grief and depression, Love, Aubrey tells the story of an eleven-year-old girl who has lost her father and younger sister in a car accident. Her mother subsequently falls into a deep depression, neglecting and eventually abandoning Aubrey.

Only alone a few days, Aubrey is reclaimed by her maternal grandmother, who brings her home in Vermont where she initiates a search for her daughter and gently encourages her granddaughter to make friends and enjoy the reality of today – get outside, make friends, attend school, etc. These active behavioral changes, her friendship with a next door neighbor and guidance from the school counselor all lead Aubrey on the path of healing.

Most interesting is her letter-writing: first to her sister’s imaginary friend, then to her mother and others, Aubrey’s letters reveal the pain, the hope, the love and the confusion present in the mind of a child who has gone through great tragedy. Although Aubrey’s mother is eventually found and is in contact with her daughter and mother, she does not come home right away. In the end, Aubrey is given a choice about where and with whom she should live - a choice with lasting consequences, but which can which change in time.

Love, Aubrey is certain to become a popular choice for intermediate and middle school girls who enjoy realistic fiction. The attractive cover features a young girl in a tree gazing upward. Likewise, Aubrey’s tragic story turns to one of hope and healing as she follows a solid path of healing, particularly through her letter writing – acknowledging confusion and conflicting feelings, while opening herself to friendship and helping others.

Interspersing memories, both pleasant and painful, the author shows how change sometimes happens slowly, and our memories are part of who we are, never leaving us, but not governing who we are today or who we may become. Most of all, it is Aubrey’s voice, especially the voice inside her head, which is the most compelling part of the book. The thoughts and feelings of a child, trying to cope, not knowing what to do, crying, and growing strong make Love, Aubrey a remarkable first novel. It allows all readers to identify with Aubrey, even if they have not suffered a similar tragedy. Highly recommended.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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