At a very young age, Suzanne LaFleur fell in love with stories. She loved stories so much that she decided that if she had to grow up, she would write new stories for kids to read. Love, Aubrey is her first book. Suzanne works with children in New York City and Boston.
Gr 5-7-Aubrey, 11, has been left alone in her house by her grieving mother and is running out of food in Suzanne LaFleur's debut novel (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009). Trying not to draw attention to herself, she walks to the grocery store and buys some staples. Aubrey's father and sister were killed in an accident, and her mom was so devastated and depressed that she left home to escape the memories. When the young girl's grandmother arrives and sees the situation, she takes Aubrey home with her to Vermont and tries to create a stable life for her granddaughter. Aubrey is dealing with two deaths and abandonment, and she slowly begins to deal with her memories and her grief with the help of her grandmother and a new best friend. When her mother is found, Aubrey must decide if she can forgive her. Becca Battoe beautifully narrates this sensitive story of love, loss, and forgiveness, allowing listeners to experience a depth beyond what the written word can provide. As Aubrey comes face to face with the tough changes in her life, Battoe's voicing sounds firmer and more decisive. A compelling listen.-Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
LaFleur's moving debut offers a convincing first-person narration of a girl coping in the wake of tragedy. When 11-year-old Aubrey's mother drives away one morning, leaving her alone in their house, Aubrey resolutely takes care of herself for a week, buying canned food (and a pet fish) with birthday money and watching TV. After Aubrey's concerned grandmother arrives (Aubrey hasn't been answering the phone) and takes her home with her to Vermont, the devastating circumstances behind her mother's departure become clear: Aubrey's family has recently been in a car accident, in which both her father and little sister were killed. Aubrey grapples with her abandonment by displaying psychosomatic symptoms-she gets frequent bouts of nausea-and through symbolic gestures (she periodically composes letters to her sister's imaginary friend, which are interspersed throughout). With the support of a neighbor her age, her grandmother and a school counselor who encourages her to write letters to her family, Aubrey begins to accept her loss and to understand her mother's complex motivations for leaving. The relationships at the center of Aubrey's struggle-with her mother, grandmother and with herself-are fleshed out with honesty and sensitivity. Ages 9-14. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.