The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance
Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hardcover/228 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-83257-4
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". . . the road to finding your true self is often bumpy and seldom straight."

In THE YEAR OF MY MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE, Catherine Ryan Hyde explores the theme that the road to finding one’s true self is often bumpy and seldom straight. The main character, Cynthia, encounters brushes with the law and struggles with her own recovery from alcoholism before she has a chance to plan a future for herself and her younger brother. All this turmoil takes place in the span of slightly more than one year.

Hyde achieves an easy, conversational voice in a story aimed at the young adult market. Most of the characters are teenagers. Her language is spare with little description. The overall pacing of the book is slow, though the latter part moved faster than the first. And, the book leans heavily on dialogue rather than introspection to reveal its characters and the action.

MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE opens with Cynthia caring for herself and her younger brother, Bill. She also cares for her mother, who is an alcoholic and never leaves the house.

Cynthia attends school and tends to her many responsibilities with a grudging attitude. That is, until her mother gives Bill to her parents to raise. Suddenly, Cynthia has lost the one person she loved. Her life falls apart and to stop the pain she starts drinking. She kidnaps her brother and, with a friend’s help, they get to Arizona before she crashes the car and they all end up in the hospital. No one is seriously hurt, but she ends up in court-mandated AA meetings. Gradually, her life turns around. She gets to a point where she can act like a teenager instead of an adult, at least for short periods of time.

Hyde’s book was quick read with an uplifting message in the end. The premise was a bit overdone. For this reviewer, nothing in the plot or characters made it stand out as unique. However, with the number of school-aged alcoholics on the rise, the book may well find a niche audience for addicted 11-14-year-old kids whose lives include weekly AA meetings.

Reviewer: Denise Lowe