Review Detail

4.7 4
Young Adult Fiction 3284
Wonderful, Heartbreaking
Overall rating
Writing Style
Reader reviewed by Alexandra

Fifteen-year-old Tess is still reeling from her three-year-old sister's death a year ago. On that fall morning when millions of Americans mourned thousands of others, Tess and her family only mourned one death: Zoe. Dear Zoe is Tess's letter to her lost sister, not meant to be mailed, of course, but to get her feelings on paper. She explains everything, from her life before Zoe, before David (Zoe's father and Tess's stepfather) even, to her downwards spiral after the accident, her move to her father's house, and the things she discovers there. As Tess writes to Zoe, layers are pulled away slowly and cautiously, bit by bit, until we can see the raw grief of a girl who doesn't know what to do or where to turn. Her other sister, Em, helps her, but also hurts her because she's not only a reminder of what is lost, but she's also struggling with her own grief. Jimmy Freeze, the boy next door at her dad's house, helps keep her mind off things, but Tess hasn't decided yet whether or not that's a good thing or a bad thing. This book is heartbreaking and compelling, and though Tess's letter begins stoically and matter-of-fact, her barrier soon dissolves and her raw emotion is apparent. This book will surely touch your heart and force you to appreciate your siblings. The familial issues at hand are common of many families, not only those which have suffered a loss, and Tess could be anyone you know: your best friend, your sister, your cousin. This first novel from Philip Beard is most definitely a winner.
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