Winter break is over, and SMS is back in session. One of her New Year's resolutions is to do better in English, and she's off to a pretty good start with the new project that her class has been assigned. The class is going to be divided into groups, and they'll each do a project of some sort about William Shakespeare. Mary Anne is happy with her group; she's working with Gordon Brown (who knew the prime minister went to SMS???), Barbara Hirsch, and Amelia Freeman. They have their first planning session at Mary Anne's, and it goes really, really well. Mary Anne is surprised and happy to find that she feels comfortable enough with everyone to share ideas and speak up, rather than just sit back and let everyone else make the decisions. It looks like the second part of the school year is off to a good start.
The next day, the SMS kids are greeted with some awful news; Amelia Freeman and her family were hit by a drunk driver the night before. Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, plus 6th grader Josh, escaped with some broken bones and other minor injuries, but Amelia was killed instantly. The whole school is upset, including the BSC. Mary Anne notices that Kristy seems to be having a particularly hard time coping. She's weepy, and can barely function. Mary Anne realizes that for once, she's going to have to be the strong one in their friendship. Kristy starts to bounce back, though, when she takes on the planning of an SMS chapter of S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving). At that point, Mary Anne is the one who isn't doing so well. Now SHE'S weepy (well, more so than usual) and she wants to sleep all the time. She knows she needs help, so she goes back to see Dr. Reese. Dr. Reese helps her see that she's just grieving for her friend, and that grief has to happen in its own time and in its own way. Taking care of Kristy gave her something to do, and since Kristy is now dealing with her own grief by taking action, Mary Anne has been feeling kind of lost.
A few sessions with Dr. Reese helps Mary Anne to start feeling better, but she still wants to do something to remember Amelia. Over in California, Dawn and her friends are cleaning up a vacant lot and turning it into a neighborhood garden, which is what inspires Mary Anne. A memorial garden, complete with plaque and bench, would be the perfect way to remember her friend! It takes awhile to get the right permission, but it all comes together in time for the groundbreaking ceremony.
Thoughts and Things
- Good Lord, was this book ever depressing...don't read it if you want to hold onto your good mood!
- It was so out of character for Kristy to be so gutted over Amelia's death, but I guess Dr. Reese's explanation of Kristy being upset because death is something that she can't control makes sense.
- It really, really, really bugged me that no one discussed the possiblility of an afterlife at any point in this book. All we heard about was that death was final, and only Amelia's memories would live on. It would have made a lot more sense if at least ONE person had brought up the topic. Death usually makes people think about what happens afterward, and there are lots of ways that this could have been dealt with in a non-religious way, if that was the concern.
- The person who owned this book before me filled out the notebook pages in the back, and her response to the "what would you change about the book" question was that she'd change the part where Amelia died. Ummm, if that happened, there wouldn't be a book anymore.