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Virginia    by Susan Hughes order for
by Susan Hughes
Order:  USA  Can
Kids Can, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Virginia Donato's life has been isolated since her dad died. At fourteen, she and her mother live in seclusion with her older siblings. Virginia used to be Ivy's friend, but it's been years since they've talked. So why, does Virginia suddenly want to see her? They never had a lot in common. Their friendship was based on being too young to leave the neighborhood.

Virginia was recently visited by an angel who told her she is to bear the child of God. She has no one to share this astounding news, so she chooses her old childhood friend, Ivy. Ivy makes an uncomfortable visit to Virginia's house where she is made to feel unwelcome by Virginia's siblings. They've always been odd with the older brother, Paul, the weirdest of them all.

Virginia confides her secret and reluctantly, Ivy agrees not to tell anyone. A promise she soon regrets but who would believe her? She knows Virginia needs help and there is no one else to help her. Virginia's mother is ill and watched constantly by her older children. They used to belong to the Catholic Church but now even that is denied them.

When Ivy searches for ways to help her friend she discovers a conspiracy. Paul, now the leader of a new church, has plans that will speed up Armageddon.

Tight and suspenseful, this disturbing novel grabs you from the beginning. Told by Virginia in third person and Ivy in first, Virginia's story is made even more disturbing because the setting could be in any middle class neighborhood anywhere. Neighbors seen daily aren't what they seem, but throughout, the plot remains plausible.

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