Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Burn by Alma Fullerton

Casey and her mom, Libby, used to travel around the world together; they were like two peas in a pod. Libby McCall is still famous, but it's been six years since she's recorded anything new. Six years ago, Casey's grandmother died and it was time for Casey to start school anyway and Libby met John, who runs a restaurant not  too far from Toronto, and then Casey's little sister Ginny was born. Ginny has autism, so she needs everything to be routine. Between the restaurant business and Ginny's special needs, travelling is out of the question... until Libby takes off on her own. Casey starts sending up smoke signal prayers to her mother, hoping that she will come back, and the fires get bigger and bigger...

As with her previous novels, Alma Fullerton has written Burn in a series of poems, a format which makes Casey's shifting emotional states immediately present. The child hardly gets a break, so be prepared with kleenex.

Readalikes: The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson (for another girl taking charge after being dumped by her mother); Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (for another sibling with autism); Hold Me Tight by Lorie Ann Grover (for another girl's hard luck story in verse).

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