Summary: 14-year-old Susie is raped and murdered by a neighbor. From heaven, Susie narrates the story as her family and friends--and Susie herself--struggle to move on and survive from the horrific tragedy.
Musings: I was a little nervous jumping into this book since I didn't really enjoy The Memory Keeper's Daughter, the last book I read that dealt with grief. In this book, I felt like the characters had more realistic and believable responses to Susie's death. Although they were all upset, they continued on with life. Some characters had a harder time letting go than others, but, with time, they found themselves able to move on in life. In the end, the family members found a way to reunite again as a family; it may have been an overly optimistic ending, but it did give welcome conclusion to the reader.
One of the strangest parts of the book was the details about Susie's (sort-of) friends prior to her death, Ray and Ruth. Ray played a very small part in the book, but I liked his character a lot. It was especially neat to see an Indian-American character in a book not about India or Indian culture. His sexual relationship with Susie, however, seemed a little out of place. Ruth finds herself (happily?) obsessed with Susie and makes Susie's death a cornerstone of her life. Should this not be thought strange?