Mathilda Savitch is a story about a preteen girl who is trying to understand the death of her 16 year old sister Helene. One year earlier Helene fell from a train platform, and life is no where near back to normal. Mathilda's mother has turned to booze, her father appears neglectful, and no one is paying any attention to poor Mathilda.
The story is narrated by Mathilda, and in my opinion, it is because of this that this story worked for me. Mathida deals with her grief by trying to get her parents to react. She is confused and angry and she acts out in inappropriate ways such as cutting off her hair. Determined to find out why her sister died, she spends time in her sister's "untouched room", reads and tries to decode some old letters, and taps in to Helene's email account. She pretty much tries to become her sister, by dressing like her and contacting her old boyfriends etc.
The novel not only explores the issues one deals with when grieving the death of a loved one, but it also explores other serious issues such as renewed terrorism attacks, racism, and war. Despite the overuse of cliches, the author does a good job with a tough storyline, by providing the reader with good insight into why Matilda acted the way she did.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this story, but in the end I was glad I decided to read it. RECOMMENDED