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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pluto's Ghost, written by Sheree Fitch. Random House, 2010. $14.95 ages 14 and up

""Then she told me how she
belonged to AA and after
twenty-five years still went
to meetings every Wednesday
night and she didn't even mind
telling people she was a recovering
alcoholic, which is why I'm writing
this down because she said I could.
Ever since I knew that, I thought
maybe Shep had something to teach
me for real."

This story will find its way into the hearts of many...young adults and people like me, too. Jake tells it with energy, passion and intelligence. He doesn't fit the image of a small town teen as is expected in his small town. He is troubled, has anger issues, a sad sense of self and a fierce love for Skye. He has loved her since kindergarten.

Taking us on a wild ride over the course of 48 hours, he shows us both vulnerability and strength as he deals with Skye's decision to leave town. The rumor mill has it that she is pregnant, a fact that she has not shared with Jake. What she does do is leave him a diary to explain her going. Jake is dyslexic and has a lot of trouble deciphering her cursive writing. He also drops the journal and must try to piece it back together in order to fully realize what she is telling him. He has a pretty low opinion of himself...feeling lost. He thinks he has lost his mind, his girl and his way as he tries to deal with life on a daily basis.

Feeling helpless sitting around waiting to hear from Skye, he decides to follow her to Halifax. The road trip is harrowing and he lets his audience know it is a story tough to tell. He 'borrows' a car, gets caught in a winter storm and worries relentlessly about his love. As he searches for her, he learns much about himself and comes to accept that we are who we are...tough to take at times but true. He meets many obstacles along the way, not the least of which are a gang of drug dealers, a shaman, and Skye's relentless police officer father.

Sheree Fitch has given us characters to love and honor in words that need to be read again and again for their beauty. The voice she gives Jake is heartbreaking and compelling. There is mystery, murder and mayhem here and I promise that it will keep you reading until you have turned the last page. I could not put it down!

The resolution leaves readers with hope for his future, despite the agony of his past. I will never forget Jake Upshore and want to leave you with his words:

“I’m not complainin’
I'm just explainin’
I’m not excusin’
But see
I thought I was losin’
my baby
my lady
my mind.”

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