This request comes from Kris, who is looking for a book she read a long time ago:
I read this book sometime between 1980 and 1984. Today, it would probably be coded as a Young Adult book.
The main character was a teenager whose parents were moving. All I remember about the new place she moved to was the house was older (it may have been inherited by one of her parents), and there was a woods nearby. I also remember a description that involved the teenager noticing the cracks in the paint on the ceiling or the wall.
The teenager resented the move away From Everything She Ever Knew and Ever Friend She Ever Had. She hated the new place and felt really isolated. Seems like she had a younger sibling, they were always fighting, and her parents always sided with the Younger Child, as the younger would Could Do No Wrong.
When she went exploring in the woods, she carried her sketchpad and drew stuff despite her angst. At some point, she meets a mysterious boy that appears to be about her age, and they become friends. In fact, he is Her Only Friend.
Here's the twist: at some point in the story, we find out the boy died in the house where she lives.
Her parents found out she thinks she's talking to a dead boy (I think because she drew him in her sketch pad so well someone recognized him). Of course, Dead Boyfriend is nowhere to be found to prove she's not making it up, and so her parents ground her and send her off to counseling.
She feels even more isolated and angsty. At some point, she ran into a rain storm to find him, because she felt despite his early demise, he was the only one who ever understood her. Of course, she falls on a slippery bank and is knocked unconcscious. Her father finds her in the ditch, and she's cold and unresponsive. She hit her head, and has caught a terrible cold from being in the storm.
Here's the part that's making me nuts, because I can't quite remember the ending. It seems like, in her fevered delerium, Dead Boy visits and gives her a choice: to join him, or to stay in the land of the living with people who obviously love her even though they Don't Understand Anything. Or maybe, in her delirium, she realizes her family loves her, and that they're right, she made up Dead Boyfriend, and she needs to be more committed to her living relationships than imaginary ones.
Or I'm totally crazy wrong and Dead Boyfriend was a vampire, or a descendant of the dead boy, or he really was imaginary.
The parts I remember about the story that I really liked were the main character's indpendance and her determination to believe in what she knew had happened despite people telling her she was nuts. I liked the way the author described the way the lead looked at the cracks in the paint, that is, the way someone who sketches things would see it.
And for the life of me, I can't remember the title, author, of even if I'm making up the part about the cracks in the wall. I'm like to find the book and find out if she really was nuts.
Thanks for any help or suggestions.
I'm so curious about this book – it seems like the kind of thing I'd have loved as a teen. Do you recognize this book?