The Properties of Water
Marni, the older sister was always the best. The best student. The best swimmer on the swim team. The prettiest. And while Lace always looked up to her, there were times that she got tired of being in her older sisters shadow.
This doesnt change when Marni is seriously injured jumping off Turtle Rock into the water below at the beginning of summer vacation, causing her to be away from home in a rehabilitation center. Now Lace experiences Marnis friends uneasiness around her and wonders whether they are being nice to her because of the accident. Lace is reluctant to visit her sister and her mother, who has moved to be closer to Marni. Her father and grandparents visit as often as they can. Her father also hired Willa Dodge, a home caregiver to help around the house and ultimately assist them when Marni returns home. Lace thinks theres something odd about her.
The Properties of Water ably explores Laces relationship to Marni, to her best friend Beth Ann and to Willa. The entire story is real, as if the reader is living inside Laces body. McKinnons writing is so descriptive, you can picture Willas midnight swims in the lake by the house or Lace and Beth Anns competition for cute Sully Tanners affections. You can picture all the characters and all the events as if you were there. And you can experience the emotions that are pulling Lace apart.
There is much more to this slim volume (only 163 pages) than one would expect. It might be one of my 10 best for 2011. Heres hoping to read more from Hannah Roberts McKinnon real soon.