Ages 10 - 12
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.
I listened to Mockingbird on my iPod in the car. It wasn't my favorite Audible performance, but I did enjoy it overall. Caitlin's story is told from a very young point of view. Caitlin is supposed to be ten years old and in fifth grade, but the character sounds closer to six or seven. I could dismiss that, however, because Caitlin also has Asperger's Syndrome which might account for her immaturity. That is my only complaint.
Erskine masterfully allows readers a glimpse into the broken hearts of Caitlin's father and community following the tragic shooting at the local middle school. Caitlin's older brother was one of the victims. The author wrote this story following the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. Published in 2010, Mockingbird seems almost prophetic when considering the horrible tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. Sadly, I went to Wikipedia to look up the date of these two shootings and discovered a shockingly long list of school shootings, most of which we've never heard of. So this book tackles an issue that is not uncommon.
I love Caitlin's father in Mockingbird, and her counselor as well. All the characters are so deep and compelling with just the barest of description. This is a fantastic story that can be enjoyed by even younger readers, especially those who may be facing a loss of their own.
Violence: Moderate (subject matter)