Cover image for Words and their meanings
Words and their meanings
Bassett, Kate, 1978-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Woodbury, Minnesota : Flux, [2014]
Physical Description:
354 pages ; 21 cm
Seventeen-year-old Anna O'Mally is a gifted writer but for the past year, since her beloved uncle Joe died, she has been wrapped in grief that seems impenetrable until a strange email suggests she did not know Joe as well as she thought--and he was not the saint she believed he was.
Reading Level:
HL 730 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

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Anna O'Mally is a born writer - gifted, perceptive, headed for the stars. Or she was, until the tragic death of her uncle Joe. He was barely older than Anna herself, and she worshipped the ground he walked on. Best of all, Anna got to live in the glow of knowing that she was the most important person in his world, too. Anna has promised everyone - her shrink, her parents, her best friend - that Joe's one-year - deadaversary - will be the end of her period of mourning. But when a strange note suggests that her saintly uncle had deep secrets, Anna stumbles into a chain of events that changes everything she thought she knew about the past, the possibilities of love . . . and origami.

Author Notes

Kate Bassett (Harbor Springs, MI) is the Michigan Press Association award-winning editor of her small town's paper, Harbor Light News, and a contributing writer for the magazine Traverse. She has covered Mount Everest climbers, New York Timesbestselling authors, and pet pig obituaries with the same philosophy for eleven years: voice matters.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Joe's death has sent Anna into a tailspin. Her beloved young uncle was essentially a brother, confidante, and role model to Anna, adopted by her family after his own parents' death in a car accident years before. Who would have expected him to die from a bad case of the flu? To cope, Anna channels rocker Patti Smith, writing winsome Smith quotes on herself, chopping up her hair, holding her breath too long in coffin yoga poses she devises, and generally propelling through the year after Joe's death on turbocharged grief. Can an alluring new boyfriend help her recover? Will she ever get back to the award-winning writing that marked her early high-school career? Bassett's story is etched in sadness and loss, compounded by a parental breakup and the impending loss of a beloved grandfather on top of everything else. Some surprise twists help hone the plot of this intense emo romance, and the right readers will turn themselves inside out following Anna's raw grief.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2014 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-When 17-year-old Anna O'Malley's "bruncle" (uncle raised as her brother) Joe dies, she suppresses her grief and refuses to open up about him. She embodies Patti Smith circa 1973, writing daily Patti verses on her forearm and conducts morning corpse yoga where she lays absolutely still in her bed. Anna also gives up her promising talent for writing. Throughout the year following Joe's passing, Anna blames herself for tragic family events including his death and her parents' divorce. Her family and best friend are at a loss as to how to help her move on and are afraid of awakening past destructive and suicidal grief responses. While seeing her ninth psychologist in under a year, Anna strikes a "deadaversary" bargain with her family to return to normalcy to avoid "crazy Bible camp" in Hell, Michigan. As she starts to comply with the bargain, the teen's life begins to move on with a new job, a love interest, and a glimmers of happiness. But more family secrets and tragedies unfold. Eventually, the protagonist's attempts at suppression lead to an increase in self-destructive tendencies that spiral out of control until she can no longer hold back. Bassett's debut novel scores a hat-trick of literary merit in a strongly crafted and complex plot, deeply drawn characters with palpable grief, and beautifully woven and rich prose. This title will appeal most to readers of realistic fiction, especially those looking for a deeply engaging, emotional story.-Adrienne L. Strock, Teen Library Manager, Nashville Public Library (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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