In A World Full of Surprises Alice is About to Find One...
In an orphanage in upstate NY, twelve-year-old Alice lives her life among the stern nuns that share her home. She's not like the rest of the little girls, she can't hear very well, and she has a speech impediment that makes it hard for her to talk. Sister Vincent de Paul befriends Alice and becomes her closest friend, patiently listening to her every word, trading secrets in the kitchen. Sister Vincent de Paul is a bit of a misfit herself, having a deformed foot that hinders her walking, but this just solidifies their friendship.
One day though, in a terrible accident, Sister Vincent de Paul is badly burned and whisked away. Feelings of isolation and fear fill Alice as she worries if the Sister has died. No one seems to want to talk to her about it. And in the meantime, Alice discovers that she may have a twin sister! All this confusion in Alice's life makes it so hard for her to figure out her place in the world- something that Sister Vincent de Paul would have made so much easier. Thus starts Alice's adventure to find her place in the grand scheme of things, and to find what may be her twin sister.
The novel is set in the 1960's, written with a certain amount of innocence still present in those times. There's no drugs, sex or rock & roll. Alice deals with the angst of being a teenage girl, jealousy, questions of faith (she does live in an orphanage run by Nuns), and the meaning of friendship. She longs for a family of her own and especially a mother. A sweet story that touched my heart as Alice tries to do the right things - often times going about it in the wrong way. She's sweet, smart and spunky. She doesn't let her handicaps hold her back, and in the end we see just how normal she is.
And speaking of endings... I found the ending to be a bit unsatisfying. I cried, but wanted more from it as the lights dimmed and the credits rolled... You'll see what I mean, because even though I wanted more from the ending I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it! Written as a YA novel, us 'older' girls can enjoy it too!
Happy reading... Suzanne