Cover image for The secret language of sisters / Luanne Rice.
The secret language of sisters / Luanne Rice.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Point, 2016.
Physical Description:
336 pages ; 22 cm
Mathilda (Tilly), fourteen, and Ruth Anne (Roo), sixteen, are sisters and best friends in Connecticut, but when Roo crashes her car while texting she is confined to a hospital bed with "locked-in syndrome," aware of her surroundings, but apparently comatose--and Tilly must find a way to communicate with her sister, while dealing with her own sense of guilt.


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1 Bob Harkins Branch RIC Book Teen Collection

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A gorgeous, unputdownable story of love, hope, and redemption.

When Ruth Ann (Roo) McCabe responds to a text message while she's driving, her life as she knows it ends. The car flips, and Roo winds up in a hospital bed, paralyzed. Silent. Everyone thinks she's in a coma, but Roo has locked-in syndrome - she can see and hear and understand everything around her, but no one knows it. She's trapped inside her own body, screaming to be heard.

Mathilda (Tilly) is Roo's sister and best friend. She was the one who texted Roo and inadvertently caused the accident. Now, Tilly must grapple with her overwhelming guilt and her growing feelings for Roo's boyfriend, Newton - the only other person who seems to get what Tilly is going through.

But Tilly might be the only person who can solve the mystery of her sister's condition - who can see through Roo's silence to the truth underneath.

Somehow, through medicine or miracles, will both sisters find a way to heal?

Author Notes

Novelist Luanne Rice was born in Old Lyme, Connecticut on September 25, 1955. She has written over twenty books and her stories, such as Home Fires and Cloud Nine, depict average people in emotionally complex situations. Many of her novels have been adapted into TV movies including Crazy in Love (1992) which starred Holly Hunter, Bill Pullman and Gena Rowlands, and Blue Moon (1999) which starred Sharon Lawrence, Kim Hunter and Richard Kiley. She currently splits her time between New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut.

(Bowker Author Biography) Luanne Rice is the author of Follow the Stars Home, Cloud Nine, Secrets of Paris, Stone Heart, Angels All over Town, Home Fires, Crazy in Love (made into a TNT Network feature movie), and Blue Moon, which has been made into a CBS television movie. Originally from Connecticut, she now lives in New York City with her husband.

(Publisher Provided) Luanne Rice is the author of ten novels, most recently Dream Country, Follow the Stars Home, and Cloud Nine. She lives in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut, with her husband.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sisters Tilly and Roo have been through everything, including their father's sudden death only a year ago. When an impatient Tilly texts Roo to pick her up at a museum, Roo makes a split-second decision that changes her life forever. Paralyzed and feeling hopeless, 16-year-old Roo, the "perfect, genius, made-for-the-Ivy-League" sister, finds herself stuck in a body that won't respond, surrounded by loved ones slowly drifting away from her. Alternating between the perspectives of both sisters, bestselling adult author Rice (Home Fires) navigates the delicate territory of sisterhood and accountability in her first book for teens. When 14-year-old Tilly discovers that she is responsible for the text that harmed her sister, this knowledge instigates a series of actions that damage relationships, possibly beyond repair. Rice skillfully examines the way one mistake can shatter the lives of many, though the dialogue centering on disability language and the dangers of texting is heavy-handed in places. With the help of supportive doctors and new friends, both girls find ways to express themselves and prove that sisterhood is an unbreakable bond. Ages 12-up. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.



From The Secret Language of Sisters

Plenty of time, slowing more, thirty miles an hour, and I hit the numeral 5, and I look down directly at my phone to quickly type the next part: mins away. And I hit send just in time to look up and see that I have veered off the road onto the shoulder, where an old woman is walking her dog in the shadows, and I am going to hit them.

I see it all: she is wearing a black coat, and she has gray hair and glasses, and I don't know her name but I have seen her in the grocery store, and her dog is a Labrador retriever with a red collar and has darted after a blur that might be a squirrel, and the woman's eyes are wide open and so is her mouth, I can read her lips, Oh NO! And I have dropped the phone and I am yanking the wheel left as hard and fast as I can. The car turns, the bumper misses the lady by an inch, no more, and I feel a thud and my heart sickens because I know I have hit the dog.

I scream out, and I would do anything if I could turn back time just eleven seconds, just thirteen seconds, to save the poor dog, and the car spins around so fast, one circle then another, and I remember my father saying steer into the skid, which makes no sense, especially because now the car is somersaulting down the bank, the windows are smashing and glass is flying, just trying to breathe I gulp a piece of it down and have time to wonder if it will cut my insides, shred my throat and stomach, when the car lands in a place no car should ever land, nose down, on its roof, in the frozen creek.

I am hanging by my seat belt, I look around, and everything is quiet except the sound of rushing water. Only the stream is solid ice, it isn't moving at all. The only liquid is the hot river of my blood, and then the world goes away.

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