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Teenage Book of the Month
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Caitlyn, the central character in this young adult novel, tells how her life fell apart the day her brother died. Her older brother Devon was killed in what has unfortunately become all too realistic in recent times; a school shooting. Devon was Caitlyn’s life, always looking after her and helping her to cope with her Asberger’s Syndrome.
After Devon dies Caitlyn’s Dad cries a lot and her school life becomes increasingly difficult. Caitlyn really struggles to make sense of the world around her. Strangely reliant on her dictionary and the comfort of its words she tries to work on the concept of “closure” and how she might bring it about for both herself and her father.
Devon’s favourite movie was “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Kathryn Erskine uses many parallels and similarities to enhance her story. As in Harper Lee’s classic novel the entire community must go through the healing process and Caitlyn is instrumental in achieving this, which is all the more remarkable because of her difficulties with Aspergers and her tender age of eleven.
Mockingbird won the American National Book Award in 2010.