By Amanda Cockrell
Flux, $9.95, 257 pages

Fifteen-year-old Angie has been talking to the statue of St. Francis in her church basement since she was nine – she likes having someone to talk to who doesn’t talk back. She is surprised one day when she goes to talk to him and finds that he is alive and talking back to her. His guidance is helpful due to a number of other issues in Angie’s life – her parents’ separation and her increasingly intense relationship with Jesse Francis, a new student and ex-soldier. As Jesse becomes more dependent and troubled, Angie finds herself in over her head and starts learning that love doesn’t fix everything.

What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay is a well-written young adult novel that is interesting even though the reader must suspend disbelief about a few plot issues, mainly that an adult war veteran with a GED would go back to high school. The main character of Angie is nicely written and complex – she’s a great blend of teenage angst and surprising wisdom and the other characters are equally engaging. The plot climax is a bit overly dramatic but overall this is an enjoyable book to read and one that teens will enjoy.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern