A Year to the Day

This heartrending YA novel, told in reverse chronological order over the course of one year, explores the emotional landscape of loss.

Sixteen-year-old Leo is plagued by her inability to remember exactly what happened the night her older sister, Nina, was killed by a drunk driver. At a party four months after the accident, she begs her sister's boyfriend, East, who was with them when Nina died, to tell her what he remembers: "I'm never going to have any more memories of her," Leo cries. "I need to know what all of them are." Her relationship with East is "all tangled up." More than anyone, he understands what she has lost, which makes her own feelings for him a little bit like love. As she tells her stepmother, "I loved... I love Nina, and he loves her, too... maybe now that Nina's not here anymore, we just share it between us instead of with her."

A Year to the Day's unorthodox format of beginning the narrative one year after Nina's death and working backward puts the reader in the unusual position of knowing almost everything before Leo does. It is also the inverse of redemptive: Leo is more miserable with every chapter as the time frame moves inexorably back to the most shattering moment of her life. At the same time, readers know from the first pages that Leo will indeed survive her heartbreak. National Book Award-winner Robin Benway (Far from the Tree; Emmy & Oliver) delicately handles the nuances of loss with tightly woven themes of love, grief and family. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Powered by: Xtenit