If Only

  • Pages:240
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:courage, twins, old age, family secrets, assault
  • Pub Date:10/01/2013
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 12+
  • Lexile:HL650L
9781459802872 DOWNLOAD HELP
9781459802889 DOWNLOAD HELP
Fifteen-year-old Pam is assaulted when she and her twin brother, Danny, are walking home through the woods. Danny is frozen with fear and does nothing; luckily, Pam is rescued by a woman out walking her dog. Pam deals with the trauma by isolating herself while Danny struggles with the shame of not protecting his sister. His shame is compounded by their father's contempt, and Danny decides to redeem himself by finding Pam's attacker. In the process, he discovers a family secret, and Pam connects with new friends who help her regain her confidence.
"Although this easily could be a contemporary story, and the historical setting plays little part in the central drama, she sets it in 1968, lending a bit of nostalgia to the narrative...It’s a sensitive tale, offering emotional insight into the two adolescents, their friends and family. An engaging portrait of siblings caught in the blame game."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Citra is good at revealing the characters’ thoughts and feelings, which ring true...Attempted rape, assault, the harm of gossip and thoughtless criticism, the meaning of friendship—all are touched upon and effectively portrayed."
"An entertaining and compelling read. The prose is deft and clean, and the development of the appealing characters unfolds seamlessly. The pace can be somewhat hypnotic at times, and, in the end, the modest threads of the story come together to form a very well-crafted big picture."
– CM Magazine
"Short chapters alternate between Danny’s and Pam’s perspectives and illustrate with heartbreaking clarity the growing distance between the once-close twins as they cope separately with their feelings of guilt. The characters’ reactions to a highly traumatic experience are realistic without being graphic, and sensitive but in no way sentimentalized. Citra’s sparse and direct writing move the action along at a pace that will draw readers in and keep them reading."
– Booklist
"Give this novel to teenagers who like realistic fiction."
– School Library Journal
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize nominee   | 2014  |  Short-listed