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Feels Like Home    by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo order for
Feels Like Home
by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo
Order:  USA  Can
Laurel Leaf, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

A mysterious death years past; a destructive fire; a father's death from an accident; a high school football hero who disappears after the graduation ceremony; and a sister who puts her life together ... these are just some of the elements in e. E. Charlton-Trujillo's Feels Like Home, a dialogue-driven story that unfolds between the lines.

The story opens at a cemetery in the small town of Three Rivers, Texas, where seventeen-year old Michelle (Mickey) Owens attends her father's funeral. Danny Owens, who had not been heard from in six years, appears at the cemetery. Michelle is unpleasantly surprised and angry to see her brother. Townsfolk begin nudging each other and whispering, shocked that he would dare to return - 'The evil gringo that kept Three Rivers from the fame of a Mexican quarterback in the NFL'. Uncle Jack Johnson, a junior high teacher, is family to Michelle and Danny. Jack still mourns his dead wife and watches over Michelle. It seems he is one of a few who knew where Danny had settled.

The reunion of brother and sister is a tense one, as Michelle questions his return. She wants Danny to just leave town again. As he attempts reconciliation, matters become worse. In Honors English class Michelle muses before she passes out: 'My skin felt hot. ... I saw Mrs. Briscoe and just before I don't remember the next, my eye caught the edge of a guy's letterman jacket. I could've sworn it said Class of '98 along the sleeve. I could've sworn I smelled smoke. I tried to move. I tried to help ... He was burning.' The author weaves an important book through her suspenseful story, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. And there are touches of humor, as when Johnny Johnson is asked about his bruised face and replies, 'Yeah, it hurts. But only if I do something really significant like breathe.'

I recommend Feels Like Home as a splendid, serious, good book. Readers will be hard-pressed not to finish this excellent, sensitive read in one sitting.

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