“Love, Aubrey” by Suzanne LaFleur
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
“I had everything I needed to run a household: a house, food, and a new family. From now on it would just be me and Sammy–the two of us, and no one else.”
A tragic accident has turned eleven-year-old Aubrey’s world upside down. Starting a new life all alone, Aubrey has everything she thinks she needs: SpaghettiOs and Sammy, her new pet fish. She cannot talk about what happened to her. Writing letters is the only thing that feels right to Aubrey, even if no one ever reads them.
With the aid of her loving grandmother and new friends, Aubrey learns that she is not alone, and gradually, she finds the words to express feelings that once seemed impossible to describe. The healing powers of friendship, love, and memory help Aubrey take her first steps toward the future.
Coping with death is always difficult. Reading about an eleven year old coping with her family’s death and her mother’s abandonment? It’s heartbreaking. You’re really able to get into Aubrey’s mind as she deals with everything. You can understand her sorrow and trust issues. You feel with her as she copes with her new life. Once again LaFluer was able to capture the voice of childhood very well.
Aubrey does grow throughout the story which I really appreciated. It’s completely plausible growth as well. She’s not perfectly fine by the end of the book. It would be ridiculous for her to be fine only ~1 year after her tragedies. Instead she’s starting to enjoy life and not feeling as guilty for being alive. She makes friends and she makes hard decisions that are truly right for her not what supposedly “right”.
The only really big issue I had with the book was it had some REALLY funky formatting issues. You would jump from place to place or jump in time from one paragraph to another. There was no type of division other than it’s a new paragraph. As you’re reading, it’s very jarring and takes a while to situate yourself in the story. I’m not quite sure how that made it past the editors.
The bottom line? A really good, quick contemporary read.