by Marcella Pixley
Published: October 11, 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can't live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess's battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.
This was a very strange read. Pixley wrote beautifully, and it was very emotionally gripping, but at times I felt myself a bit bored and wishing the story moved at a quicker pace.
Lizzie is struggling to come to terms with her sister's death, and through therapy sessions and reading Tess's journal struggles to find a way to keep her sister alive while still moving on. It's pretty obvious early on that Tess suffered from some type of mental illness, and that Lizzie felt some responsibility for her death. The mystery comes in as to how Tess died and what role Lizzie really did play.
I felt the story moved really slowly and much of the time I wanted to just strange Lizzie and tell her to get over, because her sister was a b***h that didn't deserve her unfailing loyalty. Then there would be a flashback, or a poem from Tess's journal that made her death so sad, and made it clear how much Lizzie idolized, loved, and feared her sister.
Without Tess is definitely a book for someone looking for an emotionally charged story without a bunch of overdone drama.