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YA Review: Sorry for Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley

Title: Sorry for Your Loss
AuthorJessie Ann Foley
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): USA (IL)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path. The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick, the family’s golden child. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying, “sorry for your loss.”

But when Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he’d bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose. And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.

Review: Foley is a Printz Honor winner and William Morris finalist so even though this novel started out slowly for me, I got into it and really enjoyed it overall. I finished this book last night and today at lunch a friend told me that her brother committed suicide when she was only 8 years old. I felt able to respond to her in a caring way without saying "sorry for your loss" due to this book.

Pup is a character that you want to give a big hug. He is tall and gangly, unsure of himself, he is the peace keeper of his family, and he misses his brother. I wanted to tell him it will all be okay; that he'll find his confidence and the thing that makes him "him" soon. Foley does a great job of showing us how each family member is dealing with (or not) Patrick's death and how it affects the family as a whole even though we see it all through Pup.

I like that there's a good teacher character in the book, showing the impact (both positive and negative) that an educator can have in someone's life. This book feels real and it deals with death and those left behind in a serious, but not depressing way.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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