Walk Softly, Rachel by Kate Banks

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Fourteen-year-old Rachel remembers little about her brother, Jake, except that he died in a car accident when she was seven and he was seventeen. Her parents rarely talk about him, but his presence in the family can be felt and his room has been left untouched. It's by means of Jake's journal that Rachel begins to know her brother and learns that his death was a suicide. With candor and humor, Rachel filters Jake's anguished journal entries through her own experiences – her relationship with her parents and grandmother; the departure of her best friend, Adrian; and her growing involvement with the likable son of family friends who may be as troubled as Jake. In unraveling her family's secret and examining her own shortcomings, Rachel gains sympathy for her parents, realizing that they are all survivors.

Kate Banks explores inner lives with exquisite sensitivity and precision. Sometimes funny, often sad, but painfully true, Walk Softly, Rachel is a story of love, loss, and letting go.

About Kate Banks

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Kate Banks is the author of Dillon Dillon and many award-winning picture books, including And If the Moon Could Talk, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner; The Night Worker, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award; and The Bird, the Monkey, and the Snake in the Jungle. She lives in France.
Published September 9, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 160 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Parenting & Relationships.

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Reasons for the characters' idiosyncrasies—Rachel's mother's obsession with finding a new house, her father's tendency to joke about serious things, and Rachel's habit of laughing when she's sad and crying when she's amused—gradually come to the surface as Rachel makes connections between Jake's ...

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