All We Know of Heaven

Jacquelyn Mitchard’s All We Know of Heaven is truly a heartbreaking book.  I cried a lot.  It is the story of two best friends, Maureen and Bridget, who are in a car accident.  They were in Maureen’s car when they crossed the center line and collided with a truck.  The driver of the car died, and the passenger lived.  Everyone assumed that Maureen was dead since the car was hers.  But everyone was wrong…

This wrenching story tells the tale of two families.  Maureen’s parents believe their daughter to be dead.  They have a funeral, and they bury her.  Bridget’s parents keep watch over a girl’s hospital bed, not yet realizing that they are watching over their daughter’s best friend.

When the truth is revealed, after Maureen wakes from a coma, the news is both painful and joyous.  Maureen is with her family again, but Bridget’s family must now grieve for the daughter they have lost.  Maureen herself must deal with relearning nearly everything.  She cannot even recognize her own father.  She must also deal with the pain and guilt that comes with being the girl who lived.

How can Maureen get on with her life?  Will she ever fully recover from her extensive injuries?  And how will she be treated by Bridget’s family and her own community?  The answers to these questions are not easy ones, but Maureen must find some way to live again.

All We Know of Heaven is an excellent book that I would recommend to nearly anyone.  It will take you on an emotional roller-coaster.  (I had to clean my glasses a couple of times because I was crying so much.)  According to the author’s note, the story is based on a true case of mistaken identity.  This makes this story all the more real and poignant.

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