Sebold, Alice. (2002). The Lovely Bones. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.
Annotation: Fourteen-year-old Susie has been murdered in her neighborhood. She now watches from heaven in the days and years following her murder as her friends and family struggle between missing her and moving on, and she herself comes to terms with her own unexpected death.
Justification for Nomination: This book was quite captivating. I was sucked in right away. It has enough mystery in that you cant explain or understand the different pieces of everything going on, but gives you enough information that you’re not too frustrated.
You really watch Susie’s family pull together and struggle so much with her death, and eventually fall apart only to come back together again. The pain and struggles for her siblings, parents, and friends were so real.
I think this book would connect well with teens. It’s another “what if” book. What would it be like to die and watch everyone grieve the loss of me? What would everyone say and do?
Susie is able to watch the daily lives of her friends, family, and neighbors – as well as rewind into the past to remember old times. This leaves her wishing for her old life and wanting to try to change the lives of those still on earth.
I could see controversy with this book in Susie’s description of “heaven”. From a Christian perspective this is not a God-filled heaven at all… it is perfectly customized for Susie, but not the “heaven” a Christian would think of. It is even explained as a transition type of heaven, and she will move on later – but this even was a little confusing.