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Silhouetted by the Blue

by Traci L. Jones

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
200 pages
ISBN: trade 978𢠥74-369149

Ages 12-15

Seventh grader Serena Shaw bears an incredible load of responsibility as her father抯 debilitating depression prevents him from doing basic chores like grocery shopping, let alone picking up her younger brother Henry from his second-grade classroom at the end of the day. Serena抯 dad has always had issues with 搕he Blues, but since her mother抯 death there has been no adult to make sure he takes his medication and receives the medical care he sometimes needs. Serena feels overwhelmed with worry about her dad, household tasks that always need attention, caring for Henry, and keeping her own grades up so that she can hang on to her lead role in the school musical, The Wiz. She tries to get family members to help, but her grandmother is in a nursing home and her uncle travels for his demanding job, making it hard for him to understand梐nd easy for him to deny梩he seriousness of the situation. Traci L. Jones抯 compelling novel is grounded by emotional honesty, from Serena抯 relationships with her dad, brother, and friends to her growing feeling of desperation as she begins searching the Web and finds warning signs for suicide. An almost-too-good-to-be-true romantic interest and an upbeat ending provide relief in a story about a young African American teen struggling with more responsibility than any child should have.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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