Blume’s latest novel begins like many of her personalized, single-problem scenarios, with 15-year-old Davey’s father shot to death by robbers at his 7-Eleven store in Atlantic City. Davey can’t function for weeks, and it is largely for her that her emotionally and financially stranded mother accepts shelter in Los Alamos with kind Aunt Bitsy and her physicist-husband Walter. Once there, Davey’s outsider reactions to Bitsy, Walter, and Los Alamos add dimension to her grief and her recovery. True, we experience no culture shock too strong for Blume’s smooth readability; there is nothing subtle about the irony of Bomb City’s bland security and weapons designer Waiter’s overprotective posture; and Waiter’s elitist ugliness is overdone in one violent confrontation with Davey. Also, Davey’s chaste but warm relationship with a nice young man she meets in the canyon, plus the coincidence of his father’s dying at the hospital where Davey volunteers as a candy-striper, are on the cute romantic level. Nevertheless Davey’s lonely struggle to come to terms with the killing, her everyday conflicts with her well-meaning but aggravating aunt and uncle, her impatience with her mother, who finally breaks down and then withdraws from the family, her scorn for the “nerd” physicist Mom dates on her way to recovery, her concern for a high-status but alcoholic school friend, and her assessment of the social structure at the Los Alamos high school–all this takes on a poignancy and a visible edge we wouldn’t see had Davey (or Blume) remained in New Jersey.
Amazon Editorial Review
After Davey’s father is killed in a hold-up, she and her mother and younger brother visit relatives in New Mexico. Here Davey is befriended by a young man who helps her find the strength to carry on and conquer her fears. “This is a masterly novel.”–Jean Fritz, The New York Times Book Review. Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, An ALA Best Book for Young Adults. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Barnes & Noble Editorial Reviews
Children’s Literature –
How does this young adult classic, an examination of grief in the face of profound loss, stand up to the test of time? More than thirty years after its release (and a year after the production of a movie by the same name), will a generation of youth raised by helicopter parents and tethered to cell phones understand Davey Wexler’s deep sense of isolation? Will modern teens saturated in e-mail, instant messaging, tweeting, Facebook, and selfies understand Davey life without those media? The experience of adolescence has changed very much since the book was written, it’s true. But Davey’s struggle to deal with her father’s senseless death in a shooting at the family’s convenience store and her mother’s withdrawal into grief is starkly written, authentic, and compelling. Issues of growing sexual awareness and living a full life in spite of risks and danger will ring true with teens of every generation. Highly recommended—with or without the movie—for school and public libraries. A page of comments by Judy Blume on her inspiration for the book accompanies this edition. Readers interested in learning more about Blume and this book can find several interviews with the author online. Includes a section from Blume’s novel Forever. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—The most remarkable thing about Judy Blume’s book (Atheneum, 1982) is how well it has stood the test of time-it’s as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. This is the story of 15-year-old Davey who finds her father shot during a hold-up in his store. Davey and her mother have trouble coping with their violent loss, but when Davey begins to have panic attacks in school, her mother decides to move the family temporarily to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to stay with relatives. Living with her overly strict aunt and uncle makes Davey angry. When her mother starts dating, Davey is furious that her father could be forgotten so swiftly. Davey and her mother are both deep in the grieving process but working through it in very different ways. Too young to work, Davey volunteers at the hospital where she meets an elderly man dying of cancer. When she meets the man’s son, their friendship and common sense of loss helps Davey begin to heal. Emma Galvin’s narration perfectly voices Davey’s escalating emotions and teen angst. A well-told and well-performed story.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Amazon Reader Review:
15-year old Davey has just experienced the tragic loss of her beloved father via a robbery shooting. Her mother, unable to cope alone, accepts an offer of help from her sister-in-law, and thus Davey moves with her mother and younger brother from their home in Atlantic City to live with an aunt and uncle who are practically strangers to them in New Mexico. While there, Davey encounters unfamiliar rules, unexpected complications (eg, a friend’s drinking problem), and some unlikely sources of support. As her mother deteriorates, Davey learns to cope with her own grief while at the same time negotiating the usual trials of being a high school student. A wonderful, moving book that would be especially appropriate for teens who have experienced a loss in their own lives.