Kim, a Korean girl adopted by Americans, discovers that her mom has terminal cancer. What a Christmas present! Under a pseudonym, Kim writes a column for her dad's local newspaper and routinely responds to other teens' crises. But how is she to handle her own? Who can give her advice and absorb her tears? Why did God let someone as wonderful as her mother get cancer?

Kim's best friend, Natalie, starts a prayer chain for Kim's mom but keeps getting sidetracked by her quest for a boyfriend. Kim escapes more and more into her relationship with nonbeliever Matthew for distraction and support and even considers having sex with him to help her cope. Then Natalie's shocking confession turns many of Kim's assumptions inside out.

Carlson is in high form with these gut-wrenching issues and tearful situations. Kim is a heroine with realistic strengths and weaknesses. (Oct., 288 pp., $12.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson