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The second life of Ava Rivers
2018
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  Publishers Weekly Review

Almost 12 years earlier, Vera's family was shattered when Ava, Vera's six-year-old fraternal twin sister, disappeared. Since then, Vera's parents have been distant and she keeps to herself at school. But everything abruptly changes when Ava, who has been imprisoned by a kidnapper for more than a decade, is found and returns home. Now, Vera's mother and father begin to act like parents again; her estranged older brother (who, like the rest of the family, blamed himself for Ava's disappearance) comes for visits; and Ava's childhood friend, Max, is back in their lives. Still, there are unanswered questions: Why doesn't Ava remember her childhood? And why is she reluctant to give information about her kidnapper, whose whereabouts are unknown? Gardner (Perdita) shows compassion as she delves into Vera's emotions and Ava's complicated sensibility while making potentially sensational subject matter seem plausible. Fans of The Face on the Milk Carton and Room will revel in the book's generous supply of suspense, and although readers may separate truth from lies long before the characters do, they will stay anxiously glued to the pages. Ages 14-up. Agent: Claire Anderson-Wheeler, Regal Hoffmann and Assoc. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-When Vera Rivers was six years old, her twin sister, Ava, disappeared on Halloween night. Vera has spent the past 12 years drifting through life with her troubled family. She is only days away from finally escaping the mournful gloom to college when a girl turns up at a local hospital-a girl who is believed to be Ava. Vera decides to stay and help her deal with the trauma of her captivity and reestablish their bond. However, the truth about what happened to Ava will change Vera's world yet again. Gardner's snappy style works well with the spot-on pacing, and the details of the Berkeley setting adds to the story. Unfortunately, the characters lack the same thoughtful consideration, each having only a single defining characteristic. Mom is busy, Dad is agoraphobic, Vera's brother, Elliot, is troubled, and everyone's problems-including Elliot's addiction-just fall away once Ava rejoins the family. Readers know that Ava was held captive and assaulted, but details beyond that are sparse and not graphic. While most will happily suspend disbelief for the kidnapping narrative, they may find the final twist and the family's mild reactions to it improbable. VERDICT Despite its weaknesses, the missing-girl narrative has enduring popularity and its momentum will keep even casual readers turning pages.-Elizabeth Saxton, Tiffin, OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
Ava's disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can't, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after.<br> <br> The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera's Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities.<br> <br> Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital.<br> <br> Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home.<br> <br> Ava's return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava's estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain- Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?
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