I loved this book when I first read it as a 5th grader. It’s language was by turns strong and vivid, and soft and comforting. Given my penchant for the fantastical back then (think Narnia and the Shire), this was probably the most “real” book I read as a child. Reading it to the little one, it was all of those things once more and something else: haunting.
Knowing that [SPOILER ALERT] Leslie’s death was coming, I almost dreaded reading about the wonderful times she and Jesse have together even as I enjoyed their friendship with them. Back in 5th grade, Leslie’s fate was heartbreaking because she felt like a friend. This time around, she felt like a daughter. Part of me wanted to reach into the book and save her–or hug the grieving Jesse. Either way, I love this book as much as ever.