The Big Shuffle

Author: Laura Pedersen

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Release Date: November 7, 2006

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4

Format: PRINT

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Hallie Palmer has her hands full after the sudden death of her father from a heart attack and her mother's subsequent nervous breakdown.  Hallie finds herself moving back home and raising her eight younger siblings.  She has to try and keep her family together until her mother gets better.  However, she will need help.  Will she be able to hold things together or will it all fall apart?

THE BIG SHUFFLE is the latest chapter in Hallie Palmer's life.  Hallie is now a college student but instead of enjoying college life, she is having to become a full-time parent for her eight younger siblings ranging from a few months old twins to a rebellious sixteen-year old sister.  I really admired her maturity because she knows that the only way to ensure their long-term survival is to let her older brother stay in school and finish his degree on his scholarship so he can eventually help out.  She didn't pout and shirk from responsibilities.  I can't even imagine the amount of strain and stress she had to deal with on a daily basis.  She is a super woman and at only nineteen, she has more backbone than many people I know.


Even with such a heavy topic as death, the secondary characters did provide some lighter moments.  Her best friends, Bernard and Gil, now parents, use their humor and Judy Garland quotes to help her cope.  I love Bernard's take on running a Girl Scout troop.  After all, girls should know all about skin care and throwing the perfect dinner parties.  I really sympathized while reading about the older siblings dealing with their loss while trying to keep the younger ones in a routine.  Pastor Costello is a good man who is their lifesaver but also helps Hallie grow up emotionally by showing her how hard it is to raise a family.  She also learns a startling secret about her parents that makes her realize that her family isn't perfect but it's all she has.  THE BIG SHUFFLE deals with the heavy topic of death but still gives me a great sense of hope that love and determination are more important than money and material things.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Ann

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