At first glance, it seems as if young adult readers might have difficulty generating much empathy for Sibilance. She is the type of person whom her peers could easily dislike: self-assured and always wisecracking, extraordinarily gifted, self-sufficient to the point that she does not need close friends, and the only child of a father who dotes on her. Sib seems to have so many strengths that it is a testimonial to Bruce Brooks’s talent that most readers will ultimately understand her discontent.
Sibilance is a strong character from the beginning of the novel, but Taxi develops more slowly since he is seen through Sib’s eyes and she has always viewed him as a roommate who conveniently stayed out of her way. The cross-country trip provides Sib with time for conversations with Taxi and time for reflection about their relationship, which enables her to understand what Taxi has done because of his unconditional love for her. During one of their conversations, Taxi describes for the first time how demanding parenting has been for him. While Sib was growing up, he had to earn a living editing his newsletter in the odd moments when he did not have to take care of her. When Sib asks if rearing her has been worth it, Taxi replies, “Having you is the best thing that ever happened to me.” He goes on to add that “I want you to look back and decide I was a great father.” Once he learns that Sib has been accepted by the Phrygian Institute, he tells Connie...
(The entire section is 592 words.)