Years ago I read Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard.  It totally blew me away.  It was the first selection of the Oprah Book club.  I felt that the author Jacquelyn Mitchard was an author that was here to stay.  She has since written quite a few books including ones for children and teens.  Her latest book, All We Know of Heaven is a young adult book.  I first heard about this book a few months ago, combed the bookstores looking for it and bugged the local libraries until I finally got the book in my hand.  It was worth the wait.  The book, a work of fiction is based on an incident of mistaken identity after a horrific car accident. This is book that you can’t put down and the story will stick with you for a long time even after the last pages have been read.

Bridget and Maureen have been best friends basically forever.  They were as close to sisters as two non-related people can be.  They even looked alike too and it seemed the older they got the stronger the resemblance became.  They both were the exactly same height, with blond hair cut the same way and oval shaped green eyes.  This actually turned out to be the basis for a horrible mistake that would destroy two families and rock the small close-knit community they lived in.

It was a snowy, icy cold night and girls were on their way to a cheerleading competition.  Unfortunately, they would never make it. It was a head on collision.  Very quick, very deadly.  One girl was killed, the other girl was left in coma struggling to survive. They were both so badly bruised and broken it was nearly impossible to tell who was who. It was Maureen’s car that was totaled, everyone assumed Maureen was the one who died but it turns out….

The story is about the aftermath of the accident, how the mistaken identity affects both of the families, friends and the community. The emotional fallout is evident through the gut wrenching anger, guilt, joy played out on the pages.  It is the story of Maureen who comes back from the dead almost literally trying to get better and find some normalcy with a traumatic brain injury. She had to relearn everything she took for granted – how to walk, talk and care for herself. It was a touching story about a girl who could’ve given up but didn’t.  She survived and dared to thrive as a line in the book says.  Mitchard paints a realistic picture of how difficult the recovery process for all parties, both emotionally and physically, really is.

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