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by Kyoko Mori


School Library Journal:

Gr 7 Up– Shizuko kills herself, escaping a soured marriage, leaving her husband free to marry his mistress of eight years, and having vague ideas about making her daughter’s life better. Yuki, 12, now faces a bleak world with a stepmother who tries to eradicate all traces of her predecessor and curtail the girl’s visits to her mother’s family. Her father is distant, taciturn, and guilt ridden, providing neither the support Yuki needs nor the discipline the stepmother wants him to exercise over the girl. Most of all, Yuki must cope with the loss of her mother and piece together some meaning for her death and ultimately for her life. Through strength and independence, Yuki comes to grips with her mother’s memory, deals with her own current plight, and makes plans for the future. Readers leave her in college after a painful and poignant maturing. Mori’s beautiful and sensitive prose evokes a world of pungent memories and harsh realities. Communication between characters often reflects the vagueness of language favored by the Japanese¬†, pointing up Yuki’s bluntness with great skill. Despite moments of warmth and humor and sharp insights into human motivations, Shizuko’s Daughter is more often bleak, sad, and sometimes grim. Graceful in style, a tad grizzly in plot, and rather adult in tone, it is nonetheless a worthwhile novel about a resilient young woman’s coming of age. –John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library


  • Wisconsin Library Association Children’s Book¬† Awards: Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award
  • YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound – Fiction: 1999



10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Adult, Loss, Teen