By Sylvia McNicoll
crush. candy. corpse.
James Lorimer & Company Ltd. Publishers, 2012
Sylvia McNicoll’s’ latest novel is a courtroom thriller where 16 year-old Sunny Ehret stands trial for the manslaughter of a 75-year old Alzheimer’s patient.
Sunny was fulfilling the mandatory 40 hour volunteer requirement for graduating from high school in Ontario. (For English class she was also asked to keep a journal.) She volunteered in a longterm care residence where she grew an affection for both the seniors and another young volunteer, 17 year-old Cole. This affection made her return even after her time was up but unfortunately a horrific tragedy occurred in her last extra visit.
The trial, Sunny’s high school volunteer journal and her personal narration fill you in on the whole truth of what really happened in that extra 41st hour.
As research, Sylvia attended a number of trials of young offenders. She recommends that everyone should undertake this exercise. She also benefited from the expert counsel of Brendan Neil, a criminal lawyer who specializes in representing young people. What Sylvia learned is how responsible we are not only for our actions but also our words and how even something done accidentally, can have legal consequences.
Sylvia’s own mother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for six years and died as the final edits were being made. “She may be dead, but I still feel her love. I think she has a lot to do with the great five star reviews the book is getting. I think she was whispering in many librarians’ ears when the story was nominated for the Red Maple.”