Synopses & Reviews
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 cant 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 Tesss battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.
"With pensive and darkly lyrical prose, Pixley (Freak) immerses readers in the harsh realities of mental illness and its far-reaching effects. Growing up, sisters and best friends Tess and Lizzie fill their days with magical games, pretending to turn into flying horses and selkies. But as the girls grow older, Lizzie is ready to leave flights of fancy behind while Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her fantasies. In turns dreamy and disturbing, Pixley's story reveals how Lizzie worships fiercely imaginative Tess but suffers as a result of her delusions. When Tess decides that she can't bear the real world any longer, her actions trigger a maelstrom of guilt, grief, and shame that burden the now 15-year-old Lizzie, five years later. Under the guidance of a therapist, acerbic Lizzie revisits Tess's journal (Tess's sublime but sinister poems appear between the book's chapters). Slowly, she inches her way toward understanding the dizzying power of the bond that still holds her to Tess. Pixley's memory play is a difficult, sadly beautiful ode to a complex and heartbreaking issue. Ages 12 up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“…smooth, well-paced, and contemporary.” --VOYA Online “Pixley (Freak, 2007) once again plumbs the emotional depths of a tough subject with sensitivity and insight into the complexities of human nature and sibling bonds.” --Kirkus Reviews
"Without Tess is a psychological thriller, a book of profound truth. Alternating between past and future, between loss and hope, Lizzies story will grip you from beginning to end." —Francisco Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real World "Following up on themes raised in her well-received first novel, Freak, . . . Marcella Pixley continues to explore the complexities of sibling loyalty." —The New York Times * "Pixleys memory play is a difficult, sadly beautiful ode to a complex and heartbreaking issue." —Publishers Weekly Online, starred review * "[A] lyrical, heartrending novel." —School Library Journal, starred review "Pixley, who skillfully tackled another complicated sisterly relationship in Freak . . . takes a rather provocative step here: she sets up some alluring and imaginative magical conceits that will immediately catch the attention of fantasy readers just as they did Lizzie, and then mercilessly makes their appeal their danger." —The Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books "Smooth, well-paced, and contemporary." —VOYA Online "Pixley once again plumbs the emotional depths of a tough subject with sensitivity and insight into the complexities of human nature and sibling bonds." —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Marcella Pixley is a middle school language arts teacher and a writer. Her poetry has been published in various literary journals, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first book, Freak, received four starred reviews and was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. She lives in Westford, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons.