Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Alice Kuipers

The Worst Thing She Ever Did was......???? Well, you have to read the book to find out! Alice Kuipers has crafted a poignant story about a young survivor trying to cope in the aftermath of the July 7, 2005 London suicide bombings. Sophie Marie Baxter's life has changed since her sister Emily died in those bombings. If only she hadn't done what she did, Emily might still be alive. It was the worst thing she ever did. Sophie "knows" she is to blame.
But in order to go on living, Sophie decides that she is not going to talk about what happened and "NOT THINK ABOUT ANY OF THIS EVER AGAIN." In an attempt to help her cope, Sophie's therapist has her keep a journal and it is this journal that makes up The Worst Thing She Ever Did.

As we read through the entries, it becomes apparent that Sophie is struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. She is experiencing flashbacks and sees death and destruction everywhere. She has panic attacks and cannot ride the subway. Sophie feels alienated from her mom and her friends. Strangely, Sophie is angry at her mother's inability to deal with the tragedy, even though she herself is not able to either. School is crashing and to top it all of she feels numb and disconnected. Her life is unraveling and she doesn't know how to stop it all.

However, through all of this there are good things gradually beginning to happen in her life. She makes a new friend in the Canadian girl, Rosa-Leigh who gets Sophie involved in writing poetry. And it is the poetry that figures prominently in helping Sophie begin to express what she is feeling.

When she finds the time, Sophie escapes to the roof of their flat and remembers what life was like before, when Emily was alive. It is through these flashbacks that we learn about Sophie's relationship with her older sister, Emily and eventually what really happened on that fateful day in July.
Brilliantly conceived and well written, The Worst Thing She Ever Did is a great short, intense read for teens looking for something a little different.

Book Details:
The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Alice Kuipers
HarperTrophy Canada 2010

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