Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fran, The Second Time Around by Amy L. Bernstein

As this book opens, Fran is dreading the first day of high school, a place full of new people she has never met. Mystery surrounds the reasons why she has not continued on with the schoolmates she has known all of her life. Eventually, it emerges that a tragic accident has occurred, one that shocked her family and friends, and dictated her decision to switch schools. The book is divided into three parts, the first describes her life after the accident, the second her life as a popular and carefree middle schooler before, and the third occurs right before, during and after the tragedy. Her parents are supportive, her younger brother Tobey, seems oblivious to her suffering, and her former best friend Tracey has totally rejected her. To help Fran fight her overwhelming depression, her mother introduces her to Peter, who has learned to use meditation to survive the death of both of his parents. Although she initially resists Peters advice, Fran gradually learns to forgive herself. In this book, the reader will discover how people cope with challenges in different ways, and how one girl works to overcome a dreadful situation, and make herself a whole new life.

This book was gripping, from the moment I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. I would highly recommend it, especially to middle schoolers or older. The author pulls you into Fran's life by starting the book in the middle and then working backwards. Sometimes it is a little hard to keep track of the characters and time that everything takes place. However, overall it was a really great book. The ending could have been better, it was a little predictable.

This book includes death so some readers maybe react strongly to it.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hingham, MA USA