Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett, 331 pages
A lifelong sleepwalker, Eva Babbitt died when she went sleepswimming in a river swollen by floods. Rabbit Cake follows her family through their grieving process, which is just as odd as Eva's death: 15-year-old Lizzie (also a sleepwalker) has started eating in her sleep and has dropped out of school to spend her days baking; Eva's husband has comforted himself by wearing his dead wife's lipstick and bathrobe, and by forming an unhealthy dependence on a parrot that speaks with Eva's voice; and 10-year-old Elvis has taken it upon herself to take care of the family (including staying awake at night to keep Lizzie from hurting herself) while balancing school, volunteering with the local zoo, and regular visits to the completely inept school guidance counselor.
I had some trepidation going into this book — I didn't want to read a depressing book, and that's how a lot of the dealing-with-death books I've read have been — but it was completely unfounded. Told from Elvis' point of view, Rabbit Cake is quirky, funny, touching, and as smart as its 10-year-old narrator. I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommended for fans of dysfunctional family stories, smart kids, and odd characters.