Susie is fourteen when she is murdered. Her life is brutally cut short and she finds herself in a heaven that has everything she thought she wanted on earth except the people she loved and was loved by when she was there. Alice Sebold’s emotive novel is a beautifully rendered story of destroyed innocence, the cruelty of bereavement, and the power of the the human heart to love. The novel is as much about the family and friends Susie left behind as it is about Susie herself. She must watch the people she loved deal with her loss and witness the changes in the dynamics of her family’s relationships because of her death. Although they each share the grief of losing their daughter or sister, each member of the family copes separately and establishes their own coping mechanisms. Her father is tormented with grief and is certain he knows who is responsible for Susie’s death, her mother struggles to continue the everyday existence within the family home and deserts her family for many years, her sister grows up and falls in love, and her brother distantly remembers his older sister but suffers acutely from her loss to the rest of the family. However, the novel is not simply one long bleak and desolate exploration of grief. There are fragments of hope and love that shine through the misery and restore, after many years, the unified sense of family that was lost when Susie was murdered. And it is only when Susie herself decides that she can say goodbye to the life she once had and has fulfilled her greatest wish that she can let go and enable her family to live their lives without the constant shadow of her death hanging over them. It is an extremely poignant novel that deserves its status as a bestseller.