"I had everything I needed to run a household: a house, food, and a new family. From now on it would just be me and Sammythe two of us, and no one else." A tragic accident has turned eleven-year-old Aubrey's world upside down. Starting a new life all alone, Aubrey has everything she thinks she needs: SpaghettiOs and Sammy, her new pet fish. She cannot talk about what happened to her. Writing letters is the only thing that feels right to Aubrey, even if no one ever reads them. With the aid of her loving grandmother and new friends, Aubrey learns that she is not alone, and gradually, she finds the words to express feelings that once seemed impossible to describe. The healing powers of friendship, love, and memory help Aubrey take her first steps toward the future. Readers will care for Aubrey from page one and will watch her grow until the very end, when she has to make one of the biggest decisions of her life. Love, Aubreyis devastating, brave, honest, funny, and hopeful, and it introduces a remarkable new writer, Suzanne LaFleur. No matter how old you are, this book is not to be missed.
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Based on the narrator's descriptions, we can tell that she is happy with her life. Every kid loves crackers and cheese.
Which line from the text shows that the narrator's happy life might change?
The narrator is a young girl. Why do you think she is shopping by herself? Why aren't her parents doing the shopping?
What does this dialogue reveal about the narrator?
Authors introduce the reader to the characters and setting in the beginning of a story. This part of the plot is called the exposition. Watch this video to learn more about what authors include in this part of a narrative. (This annotation contains a video)
Think about the most important information you have learned about Aubrey and her family. In three or four sentences, tell what you have learned about Aubrey and her parents so far.
What secret is Aubrey keeping from her grandmother?
What will Gram think when Mom does not come home?
Good readers figure out the genre of a text in order to better understand its themes, characters and structures. Watch this video to learn how to figure out the genre then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on what you have read so far, the genre of this book is
Good readers notice which point of view a story is being told from. Watch this video then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
What point of view is this story told from?
Based on her actions in this paragraph, what do we learn about Gram?
Good readers figure out characters by noticing what they say, think and do. What do you notice about Gram? Watch this video to learn how to figure out character traits. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do you think Aubrey only hears the middle of Gram's story?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the book or in the questions and answer choices? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Use this feature to look up the word "cellophane."
The city of Savannah is the oldest city in the State of Georgia. Below is a picture of the beautiful weeping willows and flowers that are abundant in that area. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Aubrey ripped up her train ticket?
What does this description reveal about Gram?
Since the genre of this story is realistic fiction, the author includes real places. This is an image of the New Haven train station which is in the State of Connecticut. (This annotation contains an image)
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is know for its agriculture and is a popular place for vacation. (This annotation contains an image)
In this sentence, what does "wrench" mean?
What does this sentence reveal about Aubrey's current mood?
Rooster clocks like these are very popular in country homes. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Gram gives Aubrey a list of things to do?
Many people, who live in the country, have so much space that they hang their wet clothes out on a line to dry. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on their actions, what can we tell about Aubrey and Bridget?
We can tell Bridget is a country girl because she knows how to climb trees.
Use the define feature to learn what "oppressive" means.
Why is Aubrey "clinging to the cold metal watermelon bowl"?
Authors are intentional about the ways they structure a story. Watch this video to learn about text structure then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
This dialogue is an example of
Which action reveals that the girls are becoming close friends?
Maine is another state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Bridget must have liked her trip there because, like Vermont, there are many outdoor activities to participate in. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Aubrey keeps talking about her scar? It must have some significance. Keep this in mind as you read the story.
What does this sentence reveal about Aubrey's grades from her last school?
What do you think happened to Aubrey's Mom?
Why do you think Aubrey keeps writing letters?
Why do you think Aubrey "stopped laughing" when Gram came in?
This line, from Gram, shows that Aubrey might get in trouble for dirtying the sheets. Read to find out what happens.
Listen to this video to hear what a "Yankee" accent sounds like. This accent typically comes from people who are from New York. (This annotation contains a video)
What does this action reveal about Bridget?
Something is happening to Aubrey. It seems that she does not feel well.
In two or three sentences, explain what is happening to Aubrey as she is playing this chasing game with the girls.
By sharing these stories, we can logically infer (predict) that Aubrey and Gram will get closer in their relationship.
Why do you think Gram didn't leave a list of chores for Aubrey in the morning?
Aubrey got the scar on her head from
Bridget's reaction to Aubrey's story shows that she really cares about her.
This line reveals that Aubrey is being
Good readers look for turning points in a story. The fact that the girls plan to skip school shows that a conflict may be brewing. Keep reading to find out what happens.
Why does Aubrey keep having these flashbacks of her life with her family?
You can identify one of Aubrey's flashbacks by noticing when the author italicizes (slants) the text. This will guide your reading. (This annotation contains an image)
These lines reveal that Bridget brings Aubrey
Remember, Jilly is Savannah's imaginary friend and not a real person. Aubrey is writing letters to someone who does not exist. How do you think this helps her?
What does the phrase "after a lifetime of sitting" mean?
Writers use figurative language to excite the reader and paint images in a reader's mind. Watch this video to learn about figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
This dialogue shows that Mabel is nagging Bridget and Bridget is getting frustrated.
What does this action reveal about Aubrey's attitude toward school?
Despite Aubrey's testy attitude, Gram continues to be nice and gentle with her. Why is she acting this way toward Aubrey?
What is the difference between the narrative (story happening NOW) and the flashbacks (story told from the PAST)?
Which line from the text shows that Amy is here to help Aubrey with her problems?
Based on the dialogue between Aubrey and Amy, we can tell that Amy is a school counselor. Watch this video to learn what a school counselor's role is. (This annotation contains a video)
This action show that Gram was in a rush to reach the phone. Notice other things characters say and do to figure them out as you read.
Why is Aubrey counting her breaths and waiting?
Based on what Gram heard from Aunt Janet, what is wrong with Aubrey's Mom?
When someone's eyes are bloodshot, it is a sign that they are sick, tired or have been crying a lot. (This annotation contains an image)
In two or three sentences, explain what this paragraph reveals about Bridget's character.
Why do you think Aubrey's heart starts pounding when Gram mentions her mother?
Based on the fact that Aubrey is starting to take Amy's advice, we can tell that Aubrey is beginning to trust Amy. Amy's advice just might be the key to helping Aubrey heal.
Looking at Marcus's response to the girls, what can we tell about his personality?
Which action shows that Gram and Aubrey are getting closer?
Roller blading is an activity that many families do together. It is a time for having fun and letting go of problems. Is Aubrey truly embracing this experience with Gram? (This annotation contains an image)
This is the first time Aubrey has addressed one of her letters to Amy. What does this reveal about their relationship?
This letter shows that Aubrey is starting to change. She is becoming more emotionally sound and is open to trying new things in order to heal.
The Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. This is a popular American diner food. (This annotation contains an image)
Why doesn't Uncle David want Aubrey to see her Mom yet?
What does this line reveal about Aubrey's conversation with her Uncle?
Being in a mental hospital or any treatment facility for mental health can be very difficult on a family and on the patient. Why do you think Aubrey's family doesn't want her to visit her Mom there?
People read novels to learn lessons and to explore big ideas. Watch this video about theme then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
What lesson is Aubrey learning through this experience?
This plot event brings a fresh feeling to the story. Even though Aubrey is going through a lot, she and her friend still find a way to be young girls.
What does Bridget's interaction with Christian reveal about her?
Many kids blame themselves for the problems their parents have. This is an unhealthy attitude. Do you think Marcus would benefit from some of Amy's advice?
Explain why Aubrey took Marcus's hand. Use evidence from the text to support your response.
This paragraph is an example of
Gram is doing everything she can to make Aubrey feel at home. She wants her to feel the same way she felt when she was living with her parents.
Gram is cooking traditional Thanksgiving foods for the holiday. This is a way of making Aubrey feel at home. (This annotation contains an image)
Aubrey is having this flashback because
Thanksgiving has passed, and it is now Christmas. Once again, Gram is cooking traditional holiday foods to make her house feel like a home for Aubrey. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did the smile leave Aubrey's face?
People who live in cities usually purchase a Christmas tree, but if you live in Vermont, some people like to chop down their own. This could be a good time for family bonding, but where is Aubrey's Mom? (This annotation contains an image)
This expression from Bridget shows ___________ for Aubrey.
Which line from the text shows that Aubrey is disappointed that her mother has not arrived yet?
Aubrey's actions show that she desperately wants to see her mother. Where could she be?
Aubrey has addressed this letter to Jesus. She does this because it is Christmas, and it is a time when people often pray and make wishes to him.
In 2-3 sentences, explain how Aubrey feels about her mother not coming for Christmas. Use evidence from the letter to support your response.
Monopoly is an American-made board game. Kids often play these games during the holiday when they do not have school and to pass the time. (This annotation contains an image)
The mystery in these descriptions shows that Gram may have gotten _________ news.
This description of Aubrey's thoughts shows that she is not relieved to see her mother because she thinks something terrible is going to happen. Read to find out what it is.
What does this dialogue reveal about Aubrey's feelings?
In this context, what does "stuck" mean?
Mom attempts to console Aubrey. However, this action shows that Mom is caught up in her own thoughts and problems. Do you think she's a good mother?
Why does Amy put the basket in front of Aubrey's chair?
Why is Aubrey asking these questions about the purple hair tie?
Even though the weather is beautiful and Aubrey is enjoying herself, you can tell that she is still troubled by the presence of her mother.
What is Mom trying to do with her life?
The girls are enjoying themselves by playing dress up. Despite the difficult family relations around them, they are still able to have fun. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Bridget's Dad taking Mabel to the doctor?
In 2-3 sentences, explain why Aubrey is having this kind of flashback at this time.
A vending machine is a machine where you can buy candy and snacks. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Bridget's heart beating so loudly?
We can logically infer that Aubrey addresses this letter to her sister because of the incident with Mabel.
Use the define feature to learn what "scowl" means.
What good news did Gram get about Mom?
With science-experiment kits, kids can grow their own crystals. This is a fun birthday gift especially since Aubrey is turning twelve. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on these introductory lines, turning twelve creates a ___________ for Aubrey in her life.
Based on the context and the setting, why do you think Gram is happy?
Watch this video to see how the girls made "squirmy worms." (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the dialogue between Aubrey and her Mom, how does Mom feel about her new job?
Why do you think Aubrey "felt a lump growing" in her throat when Mom was talking about the babies?
Aubrey has made such a comfortable home with Gram and her new friend Bridget. Do you think she wants to go back and live with her Mom?
A social worker is a professional who is dedicated to helping people and families solve their problems.
Which central idea is present in this paragraph?
Why do you think this letter to Mom is scratched out? What message is the author sending by making this choice?
What does Amy's reaction to Aubrey's news reveal about her thinking?
These lines bring the story full circle. Aubrey is considering how this journey started and where she is today.
Explain why the author included these lines at the end of the book.
How did this exchange between the girls make you feel?
In 2-3 sentences, explain why Aubrey is having a flashback at the end of the story.
The end of a novel typically brings a sense of closure to the reader. Do you feel a sense of closure even though Aubrey is still with Gram in Vermont?