The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork | SLJ Audio Review

redstarStork, Francisco, X. The Memory of Light. 8 CDs. 9:19 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9780545910934. STORK, Francisco. The Memory of Light Gr 7 Up –Vicky Cruz never expected to wake up. She planned her suicide attempt so nobody would find her until well after the pills did their job, but she was saved by her family’s housekeeper’s cat and woke up in Lakeview Hospital. There, she meets three other teens who also have mental illness. Mona copes with losing custody of her child by imagining getting her back, but when that doesn’t work, she cuts and uses drugs. E.M. is always angry, but there are compassion and caring buried underneath the surface, and Gabriel, who has a kindness that penetrates Vicky’s despair, hears God’s voice and may be suffering from schizophrenia. They, along with Dr. Desai, a quiet, empathetic psychiatrist, become the force she needs to get through her chilling and near-fatal depression. After her mother died from cancer and her more successful sister left for college, Vicky has felt abandoned, including by her emotionally remote father. Vicky’s connection with the others allows her not only to begin a slow, painful return to believing that life is worth living, but to find the strength to be there when she is needed, and to stand up to her father when it’s most important. This is an excellent fictional look at teen depression, made even more so by narrator Frankie Corzo’s pacing, steadiness, and inflection. VERDICT A stellar choice for any library serving teens. [“A beautiful read that adds essential depth to the discussion of teens and mental illness”: SLJ 2/16 starred review of the Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine book.]–John R. Clark, Hartland Public Library, ME This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2016 issue.

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