by Carole Geithner
This coming-of-age novel shines a realistic light on bereavement in adolescents. This is a moving and sometimes humorous story that has helped open difficult conversations in families, at schools, and among friends, about the often-avoided yet universal experience of loss.
Thirteen-year-old Corinna’s world is turned upside down by the death of her mother. IF ONLY is the story of Corinna’s first year struggling with her aching loss while having to navigate the more typical coming-of-age dilemmas, with all their awkward intensity. Corinna is strong but fragile, angry and sad, yet she is also full of life and attitude. She endures adults and peers who are clueless about how to deal with her loss, but she eventually finds a mix of supportive characters, including an aunt, a teacher, and the kids in the school’s “death group.” We learn her innermost fears and the secrets she discovers about her family. This heart-warming and humorous novel shines a light on the profound ways such a loss changes our lives.