From School Library Journal:
Grade 7-10-- From Australia comes this tense, involving story of child-prodigy Sam's retreat into another personality one year after the death of his beloved oldest sister. The family was going to the cemetery, 14-year-old Beth tells readers, when Sam suddenly refuses to go and retreats into his bedroom cupboard where he becomes Del-Del. Day by day, there's less of Sam and more of the cold, calculating Del-Del, whose frightening influence nearly destroys a family already damaged by their inability to cope with grief. As Beth's father and mother fight with each other and alternately plead with and badger Sam/Del-Del, Beth fears that they will lose him entirely. From nailing up the cupboard to having an exorcist in and taking him away from the house, the family tries to drive out what seems to be an alien presence, and at one point seems to have succeeded. Then, afraid to tell her pressured family the truth, Beth kidnaps her brother, driving with him to a rain-drenched cliff where she is nearly killed and only Sam (not Del-Del) can save her. It's a riveting ending. Although some scenes are overlong, the tension holds throughout, with sharp-edged dialogue, well-delineated characters, and strong family dynamics. A psychological thriller that's guaranteed to hold readers' attention. --Sara Miller, Nassau Library System, NY
From Kirkus Reviews:
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sam is seven, brilliant, and deeply disturbed by the death of his sister Laura. Quiet remaining sister Beth--neither brilliant nor beautiful--watches helplessly as he is possessed by Del-Del, a coldly mocking creature. At first this creature seems to be demonic--an exorcist tracks it to its lair in Sam's computer; then Del-Del is revealed as an alien from the constellation Delphinus, pure thought winged across the galaxy. Finally, with their parents near divorce and the family in uproar, Beth realizes the truth: Del-Del is the cold, hard place in Sam's mind that he has created to conceal his grief. In trying to free Sam, Beth has a serious accident. She promises that if she lives Del-Del will be gone. She does; he is. The songs Del-Del mockingly sings are all about death--``Who Killed Cock Robin?''; ``Ding Dong Bell, Pussy's in the Well''- -giving both readers and Sam's parents ample clues to Sam's real trouble. Still, it can be easier to believe in demons than in the depths of young grief. A well-plotted and engrossing portrayal of a child's inability to cope with death, from an Australian whose novels have consistently been of interest (Baily's Bones). (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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