Last summer I read a number of reviews about A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell and I have had it on my mental list of a book to keep my eye on, ever since.
Lucky for me I found it at the public library a few weeks ago. Since it has been months since I read any review of this book, I didn't have a lot of preconceived ideas about this book before reading.
Cora is beginning high school, dreading the stares she will receive as the sister of the boy (her brother Nate) who was killed in a car accident less than a year before. While she has one good friend, Rachel, they seem to be growing apart as Rachel is ready to focus on high school fun - likes boys and fashion- and doesn't quite know how to help her friend who is grieving. Cora's home life seems to be unraveling, too, as her parents are consumed by their grief over losing Nate. They establish many rules for Cora, not allowing her to have any real freedom because they are so deparate not to lose their one remaining child. Cora ends up finding solace in her art, and when Damian, her brother's best friend (who also happens to have been in the car accident that killed Nate) shows Cora the artwork he and Nate created in secret, Cora realizes there was so much about her brother she never knew.
I liked this book for a lot of reasons. I liked how Cora's parents' grief seemed real, that it showed how profoundly the loss of a child affects parents. I liked Cora's voice in this book, the way she tells the story. And I liked her maturity and the relationship she finds with Damian. While this book doesn't tie everything up in a neat little bow, it does give resolution to some things and provides an ending that is full of possibility and hope.
Visit Lisa Ann Sandell's website here.
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