Flaming Tree by Phyllis A. Whitney

January 14, 2009
By Mara Bottomley, Dexter, MI

Have you ever wondered how you can tear your family apart by being in a coma for months on end? The realistic fiction book, Flaming Tree, by Phyllis A. Whitney, makes you think about how one event can trigger a series of other events. This book is about a family who is on the point of breaking already and then a tragedy strikes. Their son, Jody, falls off a cliff and falls into a coma. This brings more tension between Tyler (the dad) and Ruth (the mom) than there already was. When Kelsey, a therapist, shows up to help Jody, Tyler is already convinced that nothing can be done to help him. Kelsey must convince him that hope is not lost and help Jody at the same time. Kelsey is dropped many hints that she is not wanted there, including a mysterious phone call. Despite this, she is determined to help Jody get better. Many obstacles stand in her way to do so.

Whitney does a phenomenal job with creating conflict between characters and conflict within each character. Also, she does a fantastic job with showing you each character's point-of-view and where they stand. This book is happy and depressing at the same time. It is depressing because of the situation everyone is in. The happy part is that they have hope of getting out of the situation. Flaming Tree has a gripping storyline and interesting conflicts. I recommend this book to anyone over the age of twelve who can handle minor mature concepts and enjoys realistic fiction. This book is worth your time.

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