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The Opposite of Hallelujah    by Anna Jarzad order for
Opposite of Hallelujah
by Anna Jarzad
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Sixteen-year-old Caro Mitchell's sister Hannah is a nun. She is eleven years older than Caro and Caro can hardly remember her. That might be why when she was twelve, she lied and told everyone her sister was dead. When her parents found out, she was forced to admit her lie and talk to a priest. Father Bob explained what a vocation is to Caro, but she didn't really get it. She was just glad when that part of her punishment was over.

After Caro has been an only child for years, her sister Hannah decides to leave the convent and come home. Caro doesn't welcome her. While her parents are concerned about Hannah, Caro worries about what to tell her friends. She doesn't mention Hannah at all until siblings and birth order come up during a conversation with a boy she likes. Caro admits she has a much older sister. Then she lies again. She tells him Hannah has been away in the Peace Corps. When that lie becomes known, Caro's consequences include hurting Hannah, losing a boy she likes, and once again disappointing her parents.

Facing up to her lie and accepting Hannah, who has serious problems of her own, is hard for Caro and it takes a life threatening situation to make that happen.

This book doesn't sound like a page turner, but strangely enough, it is. Even though Caro's reasons for lying are absurd, the story draws you in. You want to know what happens to Hannah and whether Caro can live down telling another lie about her sister. This coming of age novel will give you a lot to think about.

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