|Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library||1||LP FIC||Large Type Book|
The author of "The Deep End of the Ocean" delivers a compelling, emotionally charged tale of tragedy, revenge, and redemption. Twelve-year-old Veronica Swan's idyllic life in a close-knit Mormon community is shattered when her two younger sisters are brutally murdered. Although her parents find the strength to forgive the deranged killer, Scott Early, Veronica cannot do the same. Years later, she sets out alone to avenge her sisters' deaths, dropping her identity and severing ties in the process. As she closes in on Early, Veronica will discover the true meaning of sin and compassion, before she makes a decision that will change her and her family's lives forever.
Jacquelyn Mitchard was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 10, 1957. She studied creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1976, she became a journalist and eventually achieved the position as lifestyle columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper. Her weekly column, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship, appeared in 125 newspapers nationwide until she retired it in 2007. She is the author of children's, young adult, and adult books. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the first selection for Oprah's Book Club and was named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years. It was also adapted into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Her other adult novels include The Breakdown Lane; Twelve Times Blessed; Christmas, Present; A Theory of Relativity; The Most Wanted; Cage of Stars; and Still Summer. Her children's books include Starring Prima!: The Mouse of the Ballet Jolie; Rosalie, My Rosalie: The Tale of a Duckling; and Ready, Set , School! Her young adult books include Now You See Her; All We Know of Heaven; and The Midnight Twins series. (Bowker Author Biography)
Family catastrophes are Mitchard's stock-in-trade, and the latest novel from the best-selling, Oprah-anointed author of The Deep End of the Ocean0 (1996) is no exception. The Swans are a deeply religious Mormon family living in a remote area of Utah. Twelve-year-old Veronica, "as responsible as any mother," often baby-sits her sweet little sisters while her mother works in her art studio and her father teaches English at the local high school. Engaged in a game of hide-and-seek one afternoon, Veronica emerges from the garden shed where she had been hiding to discover the dead bodies of her sisters, killed within moments of each other by a young man suffering from schizophrenia. Over the next four years, Veronica's parents operate in a haze of grief and confusion; they only start to heal when they make the momentous decision to forgive their daughters' killer, a decision that sends Veronica into an emotional tailspin. She hatches an ill-fated plan to track down the murderer who had "drenched our lives in blood." There is some calculated emotional manipulation here, and some of the characters are overly idealized. Nevertheless, Mitchard tells a compelling, even suspenseful, story; skillfully crafts an authentic narrative voice, and succeeds in humanizing the adherents of a religion that still suffers from widespread negative stereotypes. --Joanne Wilkinson Copyright 2006 Booklist
Publisher's Weekly Review
A young Mormon girl finds herself torn between retribution and forgiveness in The Deep End of the Ocean author Mitchard's latest. Twelve-year-old Veronica "Ronnie" Swan witnesses the murder of her two sisters in her family's yard in tiny Cedar City, Utah. Murderer Scott Early is immediately apprehended, but is diagnosed with schizophrenia and ends up spending just three years in a state mental hospital. The rest of Ronnie's family turns to their faith to forgive Early, visiting him just before his release after a battery of drugs have restored him to normalcy. But Ronnie remains angry and haunted by her inability to save her sisters from him, and as she comes of age she tracks Early to San Diego, becomes an EMT, talks his wife into hiring her as a nanny for their infant daughter, and starts planning her vengeance. But as Early's life comes into focus, Ronnie's plan leads to an unexpected, if overly summative, climax. Ronnie progresses from a stock girl-next-door type to a young woman with considerable emotional depth, and Mitchard understatedly portrays her attempts to navigate romance and other interactions as a Mormon raised very "of the Church." The results are sweet and solid. (May 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal Review
As with Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean and A Theory of Relativity, this latest novel explores family dynamics in the aftermath of tragedy. Cage of Stars is told from the perspective of a young Mormon girl, 17-year-old Veronica Swan, who relates the story of the murder of her two younger sisters and her subsequent journey to avenge their deaths and find peace. But at what price? Mitchard's novel struggles with questions of divinity and retribution by asking if it is really anyone's place to sit in judgment of others. It is a story that is at times eloquent, yet always painful to read. Readers are invited to get to know the Swans; they will be left all the more complete because of the experience. This is Mitchard's best novel to date and is an essential purchase for all public libraries.-Nanci Milone Hill, Nevins Memorial Lib., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.