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ONCE UPON A TIME AND LATER IN LIFE

Little girl lost — plot:

“Sailing,” “Sinking,” “Swimming.”

Hurting.  Healing.  Hope.

 

Nitty Gritty:

YA / adult (ages 16 and up)

First person POV

Verse novel / memoir / mystery

Slice of summer / slice of life

Themes – abuse at hands of neighbor boy, threatened, frightened, silences

Secrets, lies, confusion

Horror, regret, despair, emptiness

Symbolism — water, learning how to swim

Learning to swim progress parallels emotional growth from scared, abused, silence girl into silenced but increasingly brave adolescent…two strokes forward, one stroke back

Darkening emotions, darkening images moving into middle of story

Word choices show loss of innocence

Verses of pain and agony, of secrets and burning terror followed by verses punctured with pins and needles of relief.

Epilogue style ending — nothing left to the imagination — verses for hope and healing show main character growing emotionally stronger, reuniting with family, learning to talk again, learning to swim, learning to love

Final notes of hope — overdone?  Perhaps, but comforting all the same.