Alicia Afterimage novel by lulu delacre


On the evening of September 24, 2004, sixteen-year-old Alicia María Betancourt was killed in a car accident. Popular, happy, fun-loving Alicia—daughter, sister, and friend to so many—gone in an instant. How would those left behind cope with such a sudden, devastating loss?

Wrestling with grief, anger, mortality, and spirituality, Alicia’s loved ones struggle to create a lasting place in their hearts for someone who is no longer a physical presence. They share joyful and painful memories, and discover the resilient power of enduring friendship and love. In time, each person finds a way to heal while keeping Alicia’s vibrant spirit alive for those who knew her, and those who never will.

Alicia Afterimage is a remarkable story of loss and recovery, but mostly it is a story of love. In this moving tribute to an extraordinary girl, readers will find a pathway through grief and a road map to remembrance. It is a book of comfort for all—teens and adults—who seek a way to ease the pain of losing someone they cherished.


The PRocess



I wanted to understand who Alicia was to her friends. I interviewed twenty-two of them; the thoughts, emotions, and memories they shared became the basis for the book. I know that this book helps bring some solace to others who must endure grief. Since its publication many bereaved readers have told me so. 



Alicia was an a talented artist. I always thought that if she had lived she would have been a much better artist than me. This is the first book I write that is illustrated by someone other than myself. I spent a long time looking through all of Alicia’s sketchbooks and art pieces to pick imagery for the interior of book and cover.



From Event to Bound Book: The Creation of a Memoir


45 min. Lulu Delacre explains the steps in the making of Alicia Afterimage. She describes the interview process, the challenges of multiple voices and points of view, the use of voice to develop character, and the search for clarity in placing memories in the past or distant past. She talks about the importance of revising and editing and the thought process in the final selection of images for the book. Reading the book prior to the visit is highly recommended. This is a program that brings to the foreground thought-provoking themes for many teens. A question and answer period is included. 
Recommended for grades 8th -11th and/or older English language learners. 



reviews + AWARDS

The Bloomsbury Review 2008 Editor's Favorites
Flamingnet Top Choice Award
The Bank Street College 2009 Best Children's Books of the Year
SSLI 2009 Honor Book

"The spare interior monologues create a vivid collage portrait of the dynamic teen....  an excellent title for grief counseling." –Booklist

“…powerful book…” –Yana Rodgers, Rutgers University Department of Women's and Gender Studies

"A piercingly honest and compassionate picture of teen and maternal grief...." –Aline Pereira,

"Rich in detail, this nuanced memoir is a look at teen friendship and grief but is ultimately a celebration of Alicia—and of life itself." – Washington Parent Magazine

"A story of loss, recovery and love. . . . From grief to anger and spirituality, this book of comfort for all ages shows how individuals can seek a way to ease the pain of losing someone they cherished." –Rave Review, Latina Style Magazine

"I would hope it be widely used as part of memoir writing, oral history trainings, and most importantly as a tool for using writing to concretize responses to tragedy." –Dr. Rose Reissman, President of the New York City Association of Teachers of English, Daily News Curriculum Writer, Ditmas Literacy Consultant

“…an emotional read. These memories of a loved one changed my own opinion on how to live my life." –Flamingnet

"...much recommended to any teenager who has lost a close friend." –Midwest Book Review

“… I felt I related to the changes the mother describes.... I’m glad I didn’t just discard it as a book for grieving teens." –Stepping Stones

"I  just fell in love with this book..." –Write for a Reader

"A short read, . . . The book melds past and present, slipping in and out of memory effortlessly." –The Blake Beat