Twelve-year-old Evie is not obsessed with death. She does think about it, but only because her family runs a Jewish funeral home. Evie already knows she’s going to be a funeral director when she’s older, despite the bullying she receives from the girls at school. They just don’t understand how important it is to have someone take care of things when your world is crumbling to pieces. Evie loves working at the funeral home, even though she doesn’t normally help with the families directly. Until one day, when they ask her to help with Oren, a boy who was in a horrific car crash that killed both his parents. Oren hasn’t spoken since the accident, and Evie, who is handling her own private grief, is determined to help him.
Joanne Levy’s work is sensitive and uplifting, as she realistically depicts the grief of losing a loved one and the work it takes to recover. Following the main character’s perspective, this book deals with grief, friendship, and the many forms of family.
This standalone story gives its readers a behind-the-scenes look at what happens after a person’s death and the care that goes into putting them at rest. Through the kindhearted story of trying to help a young boy find closure, this story tells its reader the importance of community and caring for another person, even if some people might not understand. Anyone who has felt the loss of a loved one, who knows what it’s like to feel alone in your grief, or who has wanted to help someone else without knowing how can find comfort in this story. Written for middle-grade readers, this book is a reminder that while pain may not go away, it will get easier with time.
Sara Rigotti is a student at the University of Ottawa and a board member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region.