Veronica (Ronnie) Swan is twelve and lives in a close-knit Mormon community. Her life is turned upside down when a young man having a schizophrenic episode murders her two younger sisters while Ronnie is babysitting them. They were playing hide and seek and she was in the shed. Her parents ultimately forgive Scott Early. Veronica cannot.
Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard follows Ronnie's journey. At seventeen she sets out to CA to change her identity, train to be an EMT, and avenge her sisters' deaths. cover blurb She will discover the true meaning of sin and compassion...before she makes a decision that will change her and her family forever.
This novel is a compelling read with well thought out characters and real emotions.
p.120 at Cape Cod visiting a family friend: I felt free of the two little stone hands on my sisters' graves that locked me to their deaths...And I didn't feel guilty.
The teen years between fifteen and eighteen are tough enough, let alone navigating such a huge family tragedy. Her parents do end up having two more children - boys, and while Ronnie loves them, she's conflicted over missing her sisters. She questions her faith, her loves, and her life.
p.259 Once I had wished with all my being to clear out of the little hollow below the ridge at Pine Mountains. And now....
Mitchard's Cage of Stars is a worthy read and handles mental illness, faith, love, and family issues with a strong guiding hand and a very intelligent, warm teen narrator.