Set in 1976, Calla Devlin’s impressive debut, Tell Me Something Real, is a compelling coming-of-age novel with a trio of sisters at its center. The Babcock siblings—tight-knit but all very different—struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy in the face of their mother’s illness.
Adrienne, the outspoken oldest sister; Vanessa, the introverted middle child; and Marie, the adored baby of the family, split their time between San Diego and Tijuana, where their mother receives alternative treatments for leukemia. Vanessa, 16 years old and a talented pianist, narrates the story, chronicling changes both large and small in her sisters as they react to their fractured family life. The sisters’ overworked father is often absent, so when Caleb, a 17-year-old cancer patient in need of treatment, comes to live with the Babcocks, life looks a little brighter.
A rewarding read for teens, this is a smart, compassionate story about living with loss and learning to make the most of each moment.