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Dead on Town Line

Review

Dead on Town Line

In this story told in free verse, the reader begins with the chilling revelation that the 16-year-old narrator, Cassie, is dead. She watches the dogs search for her, but her body is well hidden. She recollects, bit by bit, the details of her murder. As the searchers walk the grid looking for clues to her disappearance, Cassie muses about her associations with them. She worries over the loved ones she's left behind, particularly her mother and her boyfriend, Kyle. Cassie also recalls uncomfortable interactions with the needy and mean Gail Sherman, now walking the grid. Then Cassie poignantly remembers her choice to delay making love with Kyle because she felt they had all the time in the world. Now that chance is forever gone.

Cassie realizes that she can't leave yet to go on to what's beyond; she still has something she must do here first. She contemplates death as well as some surprises --- such as her sudden knowledge that she can affect matter by swaying tree branches or tumbling a leaf. However, her biggest revelation is that she's not alone. Another dead girl, Birdie, keeps Cassie company as they share stories about their lives. Birdie, too, feels that she can't quite leave for the next world.

DEAD ON TOWN LINE invites comparisons with THE LOVELY BONES in subject matter, and yet is completely unlike it in style. The verses are spare and lovely, depicting Cassie's love for music and despair over her many losses. Some of the images, of murder and of what happens to a body after death, are fleetingly brutal but appropriate. The depiction of Cassie's death is heartbreaking and chilling, yet leaves the reader with an uplifting hope. It was impossible to stop reading Cassie's highly original story, and I found the ending to be poignant and memorable.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on June 16, 2005

Dead on Town Line
by Leslie Connor

  • Publication Date: June 16, 2005
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dial
  • ISBN-10: 0803730217
  • ISBN-13: 9780803730212