Left the heat and humidity of New Orleans yesterday morning and flew to Chicago where it was.....hot and not quite as humid. I am here for a day to speak to librarians about new books. The wonderfully patient Norma picked me up at O'Hare and we set off on a 2 hour trip south and west of the city.
Of course, I had a chance to do a little reading with all this travel. The new Vande Velde book, REMEMBERING RAQUEL, is a departure from some of her more recent books. Raquel is killed when she steps (or stumbles?) into a street and is hit by a car. The book, told in vignettes from multiple perspectives including Raquel's, tells of the reactions from her classmates, teachers, family and friends. Similar in some ways to EMAKO BLUE, through these glimpses readers will learn quite a bit about Raquel. Did she step into the path of the car on purpose? Did someone push her or jostle her just enough so that she stumbled off the curb? There is a kernel of mystery here and some delicious little twists in the narrative of Raquel's life as well. Vande Belde nails her teen characters in terms of their thoughts and feelings and actions. This slim book will be one teens, those of the female variety, will read eagerly and pass along to their friends.