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Review: All Rivers Flow to the Sea by Alison McGhee

in a sentence or so: Rose and her sister Ivy were in a car accident that leaves both sisters hanging in-between existences - Ivy hangs between life and death while Rose hangs between life and grief.

Ivy can best be described as moving water. she was constantly in motion and brought others along for the ride. Rose was the still, silent water that needed that rush of Ivy to keep her moving. with Ivy gone,  Rose is totally lost. she feels the water inside her bursting and pushing and stirring to get out. she feels an ache in her heart she can't get rid of and tries to make that pain tangible just to try and release it.

the reader meets Rose in the most raw stage of her grief, which is shortly after the accident while Ivy is in the hospital. there's no mystery to what happened - a car crash. there's no mystery about who survived - Rose did and Ivy has zero brain activity and is alive only by machines.  the only mystery we have is how Rose will cope with this loss. how can Rose move on when her mother refuses to visit her own daughter in the hospital?  how can Rose move on when she has so much hurt, so much pressure, so much water inside of her struggling to move that the only way she knows how to feel is to hurt? how can Rose move on knowing Ivy can't move her fingers, her toes, or her eyelids?

much like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, by entering into the story after the event has occurred, we are immediately immersed into the emotional storms of the characters. McGhee does an incredible job connecting Rose's pain with us as the reader.  we experience her grief from her perspective and the poetic and cyclical storytelling compliments her insights and connects it all home with the reader.  frequently the narrative is brought back to the accident, jumps to the present, and slips to the back into childhood memories lyrically and flawlessly.  the emphasis on the love between sisters and loving neighbors who invest in Rose wholeheartedly create a tight-knit cast of characters that weave seamlessly into the plot.

i was so impressed with this brief, yet incredibly powerful and insightful story of grief and hope. Rose struggles with her grief within the high school setting and on a personal level from cover to cover. this is the type of book where the lump in your throat begins on page one and doesn't leave. ever.

fave quote: "But I do. I do know. I Know all about noise and electricity, silent screams running up and down the waterways of my body. I know about walking, rhythm, the cadence of footsteps that tire my muscles and bring me peace, bring me peace, bring me peace." (57-58)

fix er up: i could have read this story forever. i was bummed it was short, but i also felt like it was perfect the length it was.

title: All Rivers Flow to the Sea
author: Alison McGhee
genre: Contemporary, Grief
publisher: Candlewick Press

FTC Notice: i checked this book out from the library and got no compensation or anything for my review.

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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