Dear Zoe is a letter, from Tess DeNunzio to her younger sister, who died in a hit-and-run accident on a day when the world’s attention was focused elsewhere, with no grief to spare for Zoe’s death, except in Tess’s family. On September Eleventh, 2001, Zoe died, leaving Tess and her family devastated. It’s certainly something we don’t think about, all the personal tragedies that played out on that day. When you hear the words ‘September Eleventh,’ you see the towers falling or the Pentagon smoking, not the individual deaths of all of those people, related or not to terrorism, on that day.

That’s not what that day means to Tess, though. To fifteen-year-old Tess and her family, it means the loss of her little sister, Zoe. It means their lives are changed forever, in ways the rest of the world (to whom that day may seem life-changing as well) can never imagine. Still, Tess has to find a way to handle it all, to go on with her life, to keep on living even if Zoe can’t.

Philip Beard’s Dear Zoe is a powerful and emotional story about love, grief, growing up, and moving on even when forgetting is impossible. It’s a story about one personal tragedy on a day when everyone else mourns the deaths of thousands of others. In Dear Zoe, Tess is just one of a cast of very real characters; her voice is powerful, and will have the reader’s attention from the beginning to the end, keeping the reader breathless and racing through the book, but still not going too quickly–wouldn’t want to miss something!

Dear Zoe is a powerfully moving, beautifully written story that will haunt readers even after closing the book at the end of the last page. This painfully real, breathtaking novel is sure to be a favorite with all who read it.

Rating: 10/10 (And I’d give it more if I could…Wait, who says I can’t? 20/10!)