by Susan Shreve


“None of us really has control,” says Alyssa Reed’s father. Alyssa knows he’s lying. Yes, her baby sister died. Stillborn. No one could control that. But her father moved their family to a new town, then moved out. Nobody made him. Her mother stays in bed and cries all day. She doesn’t have to. her grandmother Daisy G. is too busy to help. That’s her choice. No matter what the grown-ups say, they hold some power Alyssa doesn’t have. So Alyssa decides to take control of her own life. Get new friends. Try out for cheerleader. Find some cool clothes, — in her dad’s girlfriends suitcase. And pick a new name: BLISTER, a sore spot, a raw place no one can ignore. Blister is a novel about flexibility, fighting back, and finding where you belong.


The morning the Reeds’ baby died was June 5: a day shimmering with light, the smell of lilacs hanging sweetly in the willow tree behind the house where Alyssa was hiding. From the tree, Alyssa could see the house where she lived, a yellow clapboard house with dark-green shutters, purple clematis climbing the front to the second-story window.


No one even knew or seemed to care that she was missing. Not her father, Jack Reed, who had arrived full of bad temper from the hospital in his old truck. Nor Daisy G., Alyssa’s grandmother — the dance champion of New Haven, Connecticut, in the “Seventy and Over” category — who was waiting for Alyssa’s father on the front porch with a cup of coffee. She put her arm around his shoulder and they walked into the house, where the telephone was ringing.

© 2019 Susan Richards Shreve | Design by Cynthia Frank Design | Development by Abacus Design