by: Linda Bryant for South
Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominees 2005
My name was Salmon, like the
fish: first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December
6, 1973. In the newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most
looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids
of all race and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily
mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn't happen.
My murderer was a man from
our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked
to him once about fertilizer. His name was Mr. Harvey. He believed in old-fashioned
things like eggshells and coffee grounds to fertilize his garden. He lived
next door and built miniature dollhouses. And like everyone else after
my death, he told my mother "I'm sorry for your loss".
When I first entered heaven
I thought everyone saw what I saw. That in everyone's heaven there were
soccer goalposts in the distance and lumbering women throwing shot put
and javelin. That all the buildings were like suburban northeast high schools
built in the 1960's. But after a few days, I realized that everyone that
I saw was in their own version of heaven. We had been given, in our heavens,
our simplest dreams. Eventually I began to desire more. What I found strange
was how much I desired to know what I had known on Earth. I wanted to be
allowed to grow up. I could not have what I wanted most: Mr. Harvey dead
and me living. Heaven wasn't perfect. But I came to believe that if I watched
closely, and desired, I might change the lives of those I loved on Earth.
In the weeks that followed
my death, I observed these things; my friends at school trading rumors
about my disappearance, my family holding out hope that I'll be found,
Mr. Harvey trying to cover his tracks. As the weeks turned into months
without leads, my parents' marriage began to crumble, my sister hardened
herself to stay strong and my little brother tried to grasp the meaning
of the word "gone".
As I watch my family pass through
grief and begin to mend these events take place. My father embarks on a
quest to find my killer, my sister undertakes a feat of remarkable daring
and the boy I had a crush on, moves on and finds him at the center of a
miraculous event. And ultimately, I affect what happens to Mr. Harvey.
Susi Bonato for The
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
"I was fourteen when I was
murdered on December 6, 1973."
Susie Salmon is dead and in
heaven. And, although she is eternally fourteen, she grows and matures
as she watches her family trying to cope with her death. Her father buries
his sadness by relentlessly pursuing the murderer, her mother escapes by
leaving the family for a time, her sister falls in love but can't seem
to get Susie out of her mind, and her little brother can't understand what
"gone" means. From heaven Susie also tracks the murderer, Mr. Harvey, who
lives next door and builds miniature dollhouses.
The heaven Susie is in is a
lovely place where wishing something can make it come true. Susie loves
her family and sometimes even through their depression and gloom, manages
to let them know in often uplifting, humorous ways. And, she affects what
ultimately happens to Mr. Harvey.
Lisa Maher for The
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
Susie was walking home one night from school through a cornfield, in sight
of home, when a neighbor asks her to take a look at an underground room
he has made. Susie wants to go home, but reluctantly follows Mr.
Harvey for the sake of manners. It is an interesting little
room, complete with a fireplace and a working chimney. But
when Mr. Harvey closes the entrance and blocks her way out, she realizes
that this was a mistake, a mistake that she won't live to regret.
The story that follows details Susie’s struggles in ‘heaven’ as she comes
to terms with her own violent death and the on-going lives of those she
loved. Lives that were forever changed, but that continued, nonetheless.
Can Susie make peace with her own demise and the reactions of her family
and loved ones? Will she be able to let go of her worldly existence
and embrace her spiritual one? Read The Lovely Bones to find
out. (Laura Blevins, firstname.lastname@example.org,
University of South Carolina, graduate candidate School of Library and
The title of the book that I want to talk you about today is “The Lovely
Bones”. I want you to close your eyes now and think about the title.
What does the title suggest to you? Can you figure out what this
book is about just by thinking about the title? Now, I want you to
look closely at the cover. Are there any clues that you can detect
by looking at the cover of this book? There are different shades
of blue used on the cover, do these colors have a special significance?
What about the charm bracelet with just one solitary charm?
The charm bracelet you see on the cover belongs to Susie Salmon.
Susie is a fourteen year-old girl, who lives in a town located in Pennsylvania.
Susie’s story unravels in 1973 in a place and time when people still believed
that bad things didn't really happen to good people. Or, do they?
This book is a popular book with people of all ages, but especially with
your people your age. Find out why this psychological thriller is
so popular and what happens to Susie Salmon in “The Lovely Bones” by Alice
Sebold. (Cathy Hesselink, email@example.com,
CLIS Student - USC)
“The Lovely Bones” is
a book where you get the first person view of a girl named Susie Salmon,
who was murdered on her home through a cornfield from school. “The Lovely
Bones” is an eerie, but not anywhere near the horror genre, kind of mystery
book .She gives the first person view from heaven, where she meets Franny,
a resident in her heaven. Susie meets other people in her heaven that have
had the same fate as her. But not all the same age or died from the same
person. She watches her family from heaven, seeing how the investigation
for her murder was going on, and looking on at the man who had killed her.
The Lovely bones is a book
for someone who likes mysteries and stories that make you not want to put
the book down, that you just had to see what would happen next. How Alice
Sebold describes how and what is happening, is seems like you are actually
in the book, looking at the things as the words scramble on the page. It’s
not the hardest book to read, but it isn't the easiest. And the more you
get into it, the more you will like it.
If you like the book “Elsewhere”,
you will love “The Lovely Bones”. I would like to recommend this book to
13+ and up. (Sabrina D., K-12 student)
Imagine you are the parent
of a fourteen year old girl who didn't come home from school one day.
Waiting around all day wondering where your daughter could be. This
becomes reality for the Salmon family in Alice Sebold's, "The Lovely Bones."
This contemporary realistic novel follows the story of Susie Salmon who
was brutually murdered by her neighbor in the first chapter of the book.
Her parents Jack and Abigail struggle with the loss, while Susie is trying
to leave them signs showing them their trusted neighbor, Mr. Harvey, should
actually not be trusted. Will Susie's body ever be found? Do her
parents ever figure out that the man they trusted is actually the man who
killd Susie? All these questions and more will be answered in Alice
Sebold's, "The Lovely Bones." (Caitlyn Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org, college student)