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Friday, June 17, 2011

Lark, written by Tracey Porter. Harper, 2011. $17.99 ages 12 and up

"Kate Battle demonstrates how
to rake someone's face with her
own car keys. But I only have one
key since I don't drive yet. Not
much of a weapon. Besides, how
can you really tell if a guy is all right
or a sex offender? And aren't girls
supposed to be nice?

Here is the story of three girls...and how the death of one has a profound effect on the others. Lark is the girl who died, Nyetta and Eve survive her. While her friends and family grieve her loss, the two girls who help to tell her story have a special connection to her. Nyetta is the girl Lark used to babysit while Eve was at one time her best friend. Both have not seen much of her lately as Lark is an aspiring gymnast and spends much of her time at the gym, She and Eve have not spoken since a falling out in middle school.

Lark is 16 when she is abducted while waiting for a ride home, following a school gym practice. In her voice, we hear the grim details of the kidnapping, the abuse and ultimately, her death. Lark is visiting Nyetta every night, begging her to save Lark from turning into a tree. Nyetta believes that Lark's soul can only be saved if she helps. When her mother hears her speaking to Lark, she has her see a therapist.  Is she crazy? No, she kmows that it is real. Eve is unable to deal with the tangible loss of her friend, after losing her friendship in an earlier spat. She cannot cry, while everyone around her does. And, she is dealing with some issues of her own concerning sexual harassment.

This book haunts the reader with its brilliant and beautiful writing. It will leave its mark on your reading life. While the telling is short, the impact will live long in your memory. My attention was riveted from start to finish, and there was no stopping once I met the three girls whose story is told here. Each of their voices is strong and haunting. It is very tightly written.

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