When Lizzie and Tess are little girls they complete each other's
worlds so well they have no need of other friends. Tess lives in a
world of magic, believing she can become a winged horse or a selkie.
Lizzie, although more reality oriented, loves Tess' created fantasies,
even though she must take real risks sometimes. Tess, herself, is in
terrible danger. Believing that food is for mortals, she starves
Life gets more complicated when a family with twins near
Lizzie's age moves into the neighborhood. Tess urges Lizzie to become
chums with devoutly Catholic Isabella and then resents their
friendship. Her actions become more extreme. Lizzie ends up in the
hospital. Tess is put on pills that she knows will make her leave the
world of magic.
Six years after Tess' death, Lizzie and her parents are isolated
from each other, unable to come to terms with their loss. Lizzie
submits her sister's poetry in class, trying in that way to keep Tess
alive, to not face the tragedy that has come to define her life.
Isabella's quiter twin, Niccolo, can see what's happening and wants to
Marcella Pixley, author of Without Tess, has done what few can
do convincingly. Lizzie's voice as teen and child is consistant
enough to feel like the same person. But both ages seem authentic.
Child Lizzie has a terrible secret. As much as she loves Tess, there
are times she sees how much her family's life revolves around her
sister and her problems and wishes she would go ahead and die and get
it over with. Teen Lizzie, in contrast, can't bear to say goodbye.
On a personal note, I'm waiting to see how Darcie and Paula do their
first day of their new principalships. I'm so proud of them.
A great big shout out goes out to Paula and Darcie and Maine's other
excellent principals with wishes for a super year!
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod