Rissi, Anica Mrose

Wishing Season

(1) 4-6 When the school bus drops Lily off after the last day of fifth grade, four months after the death of her twin brother, Anders, her loneliness is so palpable that even the birds express concern. Lily's single-parent mother is absorbed in her own grief, and Lily's classmates are keeping their distance. She finds real comfort only in "the overlap," a place behind a barn where she can still see and talk to her dead twin. Otherwise, Lily soldiers on through summer alone, except for occasional interactions with a sympatico high school girl, a generous neighbor, and a bunch of chickens. The narrative slowly reveals details from the previous year, allowing readers to develop a more intimate connection to the characters and to make sense of Lily's isolation and feelings of guilt. Told in the third person, this poignant, mostly realistic exploration of processing grief is punctuated by a few observations from anthropomorphized local animals and the supernatural moments between Lily and her brother. Though Anders seems to be losing his connection to the world, he supports Lily as best he can, encouraging her to enjoy what little time they have and to find ways to go on living. This achingly sad but also hopeful story set on a small Maine island poses questions about the power of our connections--to other people, to animals, and to the world around and beyond.


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