The Day Their Life Fell Apart was the day a shooter turned his gun on Devon, Caitlin's big brother. It happened at school and the grieving is just beginning. Devon was Caitlin's best friend and guide. At the age of ten, Caitlin is just beginning to find her way through the social scene as a child with Asperger's syndrome and Devon was someone she could always count on to teach her how to handle different people and different situations.
The story unfolds through the voice of Caitlin. Dad is struggling to accept the loss of his son and he's also trying to cope with his remaining child. Friendship, bullying, and social savviness are all "courses" Caitlin needs to pass to survive in her world but she has a hard time communicating what she needs and understanding what others are trying to tell her. She is learning to look people in the eye when she talks and she's beginning to understand the need for closure. Just before Devon was killed, he had been planning to build a chest as part of his Eagle Scout work. Caitlin slowly realizes that she and her father might find closure if they work together to finish the chest in Devon's honor.
The story brings us directly into the world of children with Asperger's and educates us about how things look from their side of the mirror. As you listen to Caitln's thoughts and experience the world from inside her mind and her skin, you have the chance to experience what it might be like to live her life. Walking in other's shoes just might help our children to accept and understand why other children act differently and hopefully, will break down the feeling of differences and create understanding and acceptance. The story is also about the tragedy and trauma of a school shooting and how a family picks up the pieces after such a devastating loss. Sensitive and brilliantly done. 235 pages Ages 9-12 2010 National Book Award Winner