Thursday, December 3, 2009

If you like "The Lovely Bones..."

The movie version of Alice Sebold's bestselling novel The Lovely Bones will be in U.S. theaters starting December 11, 2009. The book--narrated from heaven by 14-year-old Susie Salmon, following her murder--was lauded for its complex portrait of a family haunted by tragedy; its "personal, whimsical, yet utterly convincing heaven" (Kirkus Reviews); beautiful writing; and riveting suspense.

Looking for more great reads (many of them stories from The Other Side)? Check out one of the books featured below. You can find copies of these books at your local library by typing in the title in the World Catalog search box here on BookBag, or buy copies using the box above it.

Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Fiction. Liz Hall is nearly 16 when she is hit by a taxicab while riding her bike to the mall. The next thing she knows, she's on a boat headed to Elsewhere, the place where people go when they die. After learning that everyone in Elsewhere ages backward and, upon reaching infancy, returns to Earth, Liz is distraught and angry about everything she missed by dying so young. She becomes utterly preoccupied with watching her family and friends from Elsewhere's special observation deck and nearly misses her chance at finding peace, love, and the afterlife. Author Gabrielle Zevin's fully imagined and intriguing version of the hereafter will have fans of The Lovely Bones

Many Stones, by Carolyn Coman (Puffin Books) Fiction. Berry Morgan was never her father's favorite--that was her older sister, Laura--but since their parents' divorce, she's hardly seen him at all. Now, a year and a half after Laura was murdered while volunteering at a school in Cape Town, South Africa, Berry's dad wants her to accompany him on a two-week trip to the place where Laura died. This wrenching book that VOYA calls "an ode to the grieving process" deftly parallels the struggle for forgiveness of a father and daughter with that of post-apartheid South Africa. If you were riveted by the disintegration of Susie Salmon's family after

her death (in The Lovely Bones), you'll appreciate the similar psychological complexity of Many Stones.

Waves, by Sharon Dogar (Chicken House) Fiction. Hal Ditton and his family have always spent blissful summers at their Brackinton beach house. This year's trip, however, will only intensify the pain the whole family has suffered since Hal's older sister Charley's late-night surfing accident last summer. She's been comatose ever since, but when the Dittons go to Brackinton without Charley, Hal is overwhelmed by thoughts that seem to belong to her. Is Charley sending Hal her thoughts? And if she is, why? This suspenseful book should especially appeal to readers who like Jodi Picoult's stories about families in crisis, or the supernatural narration of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.

The Stolen Child: A Novel, by Keith Donohue (Anchor Books) Adult Fantasy. What if you were stolen from your family...but you never knew it? That's what happens when the fey are about. Set in a mid-20th century American suburb, The Stolen Child features two boys adapting to life with each other's families. Taken by faeries, seven-year-old Henry Day is given the name Aniday and lives in the forest with other stolen ones, but he misses books and clean sheets. The new "Henry Day," a changeling, tries to adapt to life with the Days, even as his persistent memories of life in another place surface. If you liked the haunting quality of The Lovely Bones and the idea of characters who don't quite fit in the worlds that they inhabit, give this mesmerizing debut novel a try.

Where I Want to Be, by Adele Griffin (G.P. Putnam's Sons) Fiction. Jane Culvert

was the perfect big sister to Lily when they were little girls--Jane taught Lily how to play make-believe, and it seemed that Jane's imagination made the whole world enchanted. But as the sisters grew older, Jane stayed rooted in unreality while Lily started making friends and dating. Soon after this story begins, we learn that Jane has died in a tragic accident. Lily, however, continues to feel her presence, and fears that she may never be able to move forward with her own life. The two sisters, separated by death but still connected, narrate alternating chapters of this poignant story about letting go of loss and guilt.

The Afterlife, by Gary Soto (Harcourt) Fiction. While trying to get his hair combed just right in the men's room of Club Estrella, 17-year-old Chuy offhandedly compliments the shoes of the guy standing next to him--and gets stabbed to death in return. Chuy's spirit leaves his body and, like Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones, he wanders his hometown, looking in on family and friends as they grieve over his untimely death. He even has a chance to do some good and to fall in love before his "ghost body" fades away. The Afterlife vividly depicts the richness of barrio life in Fresno, California, and shows how precious Chuy's seemingly average life was.

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