Book Review: Remembering Raquel by Vivian Vande Velde Remembering Raquel (9780152059767): Vivian Vande Velde ...

Title: Remembering Raquel

Author: Vivian Vande Velde

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Number of Pages: 157

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes



   Remembering Raquel was quite unlike any YA novel I’ve ever read, and it’s story was the very epitome of bittersweet. It’s whole premise revolves around a sweet and awkward fourteen-year-old girl who nobody bothers to get to know until she dies. People who go to school with Raquel Falcone treat her as a non-entity; she’s the kind of girl the recognize if they pass her in the street but otherwise they don’t concern themselves with her. So when they find out that Raquel got fatally hit be a car after stepping off a curb at the wrong time, they’re surprised but they’re not exactly sad; after all, how can you mourn the death of somebody you didn’t even know?


The teacher of the class Raquel used to be a part of wants all the students to write about their feeling about her death and turn it into a project. Let me tell you, too- some of the kids are cold. They don’t even pretend to be the littlest bit rattled that this girl who was part of all their lives got mangled by a car. As the project continues, however, the ‘what-ifs?’ begin to occur to the surviving classmates and they start to think about the person behind Raquel’s silence and the things they might have missed by not making the effort to get to know them.


I think this book succeeded in what it set out to do for me; the people in Raquel’s life mostly made me angry but in the end I started to care about Raquel’s character. The funny thing is she was so cool in a lot of ways (admittedly it was a nerdy kind of cool, but you don’t need to be in the in-crowd to have something to offer people.) I think she could have had a tight group of friends but she kept to herself and nobody made the effort make the first move.


I thought it was weird that the girl who seemed to be the most callous about Raquel’s death ended up forging a bond with Raquel’s only friend at the funeral, because that girl just came off as a bitch to me. I think she was supposed to come off as ‘honest’ but there’s a difference between honesty (even of the brutal variety) and totally lacking empathy. There were so many POV’s thrown into this story and a lot of the characters failed to stick with me, but the story itself was emotional and really made me thing.

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