Tell Me Something Real

304p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481461153.
Gr 9 Up—The year is 1976, and the Babcock sisters, Adrienne, Vanessa, and Marie, are dealing with the rapidly approaching death of their mother. Their world revolves around their mother's care and her illness. The sisters have put their own lives on hold while they care for her—cleaning the house, feeding her, giving her the necessary medications, and dealing with their mother's increasingly disruptive mood swings. They spend several days each month in a Mexican clinic where their mother receives a controversial treatment that is banned in the United States. Just when things can't seem to get any worse, their mother announces that her disease is terminal, sending the family into a spiral of grief, anger, and, for some, shameful relief. Slowly the girls start to realize that not everything about their mother's illness adds up and that cancer may not be the worst thing that could befall their family. This is an intense read that explores the way illness can seep into the lives of everyone it touches, leaving behind confusion, fear, and anger, and a thoroughly engrossing story that will keep readers reevaluating everything they thought they knew about the Babcock family.
VERDICT An intriguing tale of illness, love, loss, and betrayal that is sure to reel in teens looking for something with a little bit of darkness hidden in the pages.

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