All We Know of Heaven – Jacquelyn Mitchard
The last of the books I have to read for Bookfest and based on a true story, this is one of the most deserving of being labelled “ripped from the headlines.” Two teenage girls who are best friends, cheerleaders, and physically nearly identical are in a catastrophic car crash. One survives, one dies, and the families and doctors all have it wrong about who the girl in the coma is. A funeral is held and medical bills mount. And as the girl who survived wakes up, and then begins the long road to rehabilitation, her recovery is greeted as both miracle and horror.
This had the melodrama I was looking for when I read Before I Die. I’ve never read any Jodi Picoult, but it seems to have the same appeal. My biggest problems were some time line issues. Someone’s birthday happens twice in about 6 months, suddenly it’s dinnertime when it had just been two in the morning. But I enjoyed it well enough, and will have an easy time recommending it.
But what it really makes me think of are doppelgangers. At the beginning of the book, the two girls are so close and so alike, but one is much more dynamic and popular. But when it’s the other who survives and must live for them both, she is constantly dogged by the memory of her best friend and the sense that she stole the other girl’s life. So there is a switch in who is “real” and who is the ghost.