By Adrienne Maria Vrettos
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, Hardcover, 9781416906551, 240pp.)
Publication Date: March 21, 2006
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I'M TELLING YOU THIS BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T ASK. I'VE GOT IT ALL HERE, GROWING LIKE A TUMOR IN MY THROAT.
I'm telling you because if I don't, I will choke on it. Everybody knows what happened, but nobody asks. And Elvis the EMT doesn't count because when he asked, he didn't even listen to me answer because he was listening to my sister's heart not beat with his stethoscope. I want to tell. It's mine to tell. Even if you didn't ask, you have to hear it.
Fourteen-year-old Donnie's older sister, Karen, has always been the one person in his life on whom he could totally depend. But as Karen slowly slips away in the grip of an eating disorder, Donnie finds himself alone in facing the trauma of his parents' faltering marriage and his new life as an outcast at school.
Donnie makes it his responsibility to cure his sister's illness and fix his parents' issues, letting every part of himself disappear in the process. It is more important -- and somehow easier -- to figure out if today is a day when Karen is eating, or to know if Dad and Mom are sleeping in the same bedroom, than to deal with his own problems. In the end, though, Donnie must decide whether to float through life unnoticed, or to claim his rightful place as a member of his family and of the world. This powerful story from a brilliant new talent introduces a memorable boy in Donnie, who, from his funny and painfully honest point of view, describes a harrowing year that leaves both him and his family forever changed.
Adrienne Maria Vrettos grew up on a mountain in southern California, where she rode dirt bikes and made a mean double-mud pie. Her first novel, Skin, was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and a New York Public Library Top 100 Books for Reading and Sharing selection. Her second novel, Sight, was an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. She is also the author of The Exile of Gigi Lane and Burnout. Adrienne lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, and you can visit her online at AdrienneMariaVrettos.com.