The narrator of The Lovely Bones, Susie Salmon, is a normal fourteen year-old girl. She has just received her first kiss and is looking forward to going to high school next year. She is on her way home from school when she is stopped by a man who wants to show her something in the cornfield. Susie thinks she can trust this man because he is a neighbor who knows her parents. Unfortunately, this man, George Harvey, is a serial killer who rapes and murders Susie. Susie is quickly taken to heaven, where she meets Franny, her guide in the afterlife. Heaven can be whatever she wants, and Susie chooses to create her heaven in the image of her hometown high school. However, the only thing Susie truly wants is to be back on Earth, growing up with the people she loves. This is the one thing Susie cannot have in heaven, but there is one way Susie can keep up with her family. From heaven, Susie can look down and watch her family as they struggle with their own feelings about her murder. The Salmon family is forever changed as a result of Susie’s murder. Susie watches as her parents drift apart and her siblings and friends grow up and have experiences Susie can only witness. Her mother, Abigail, wants to run away from her feelings, whereas her father, Jack, wants to confront those feelings head on. Jack Salmon, unsatisfied with Len Fenerman’s investigation, begins his own investigation of Susie’s murder. This investigation leads Jack to suspect George Harvey. However, police cannot arrest Harvey because there is no evidence linking Harvey to Susie. Susie follows her sister Lindsey’s life from heaven. Lindsey experiences major life milestones witnessed vicariously by Susie. Susie cannot herself grow up, but can have a basic understanding of the process by watching her sister. She watches as Lindsey grows into a strong young woman who also shares her father’s determination to find Susie’s killer. Lindsey learns from Grandma Lynn the name of the man her father believes killed Susie. Lindsey begins watching Harvey’s house, committing his schedule to her memory, and waiting for her opportunity. Family members are not the only people affected by Susie’s death. Ray Singh, the first and only boy Susie kisses, is at first a suspect. He is quickly ruled out by police, by remains haunted by the memory of Susie’s death. Ruth Connors, an unpopular girl in Susie’s class, is also impacted by Susie’s death. She is the last person Susie touches as her spirit leaves Earth. As a result, Ruth becomes obsessed with death and even begins seeing the dead on Earth. Ray and Ruth become forever linked in their shared grief and understanding. George Harvey, Susie’s killer, is also watched by Susie. In heaven, Susie meets and learns the stories of all of his victims. She sees Harvey hide her body, lie to her father and the police, and run from the crimes he has committed. Susie wants to help the living apprehend her killer, but can only watch as the police and her family try to gather evidence and find her murderer. Through the experiences of the Salmon family in The Lovely Bones, readers can examine their own feelings and reactions to loss and mourning. Can something good come from a horrible tragedy? Can healing come from a place of tremendous violence and despair?Memorable quotes for The Lovely Bones (2009) Susie Salmon: I was slipping away, that's what it felt like, life was leaving me, but I wasn't afraid; then I remembered: "There was something I was meant to do; somewhere I was meant to be." Susie Salmon: Always, I would watch Ray; I was in the air around him, I was in the cold winter mornings he spent with Ruth Connors; and sometimes Ray would think of me, but he began to wonder maybe it was time to put that memory away, maybe it was time to let me go. Susie Salmon: There was one thing my murderer didn't understand; he didn't understand how much a father could love his child. Susie Salmon: My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. I took his photo once as he talked to my parents about his border flowers. I was aiming for the bushes when he got on the way. He stepped out of nowhere and ruined the shot. He ruined a lot of things. Susie Salmon: I wasn't lost, or frozen, or gone... I was alive; I was alive in my own perfect world. Susie Salmon: Holly said there was a wide, wide heaven beyond everything we knew; where there was no cornfield, no memory, no grave... but I wasn't looking beyond yet, I was still looking back. Susie Salmon: I was in the blue horizon between heaven and earth. The days were unchanging and every night I dream the same dream. The smell of damp earth. The scream no one heard. The sound of my heart beating like a hammer against cloth and I would hear them calling, the voices of the dead. I wanted to follow them to find a way out but I would always come back to the same door. And I was afraid. I knew if I went in there I would never come out. Ray Singh: You are beautiful, Susie Salmon. [repeated line] George Harvey: You're the Salmon girl, right? Ray Singh: If I had but an hour of love, If that be all that is given me, An hour of love upon this earth, Susie Salmon: [Ray's poem finished by Susie] I would give my love to thee. Susie Salmon: Grandma Lynn predicted I would live a long life because I had saved my brother. As usual, Grandma Lynn was wrong. [last lines] Susie Salmon: [voiceover] When my mother came to my room, I realized that all this time, I'd been waiting for her. I had been waiting so long, I was afraid she wouldn't come. Abigail Salmon: [whispering] I love you, Susie. Susie Salmon: [voiceover] Nobody notices when we leave. I mean, the moment when we really choose to go. At best you might feel a whisper, or the wave of a whisper, undulating down. My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name: Susie. I was 14 years old, when I was murdered, on December 6, 1973. I was here for a moment. And then I was gone. I wish you all a long and happy life. Holly: You're not supposed to look back, you're supposed to keep going. [first lines] Susie Salmon: [voiceover] I remember being really small; too small to see over the edge of a table. There was a snow globe, and I remember the penguin who lived inside the globe. He was all alone in there, and I worried for him. Susie Salmon: You realize by the time I see my photos, I'm gonna be middle-aged. Susie Salmon: What's that? Abigail Salmon: That's your new hat, sweetie. Lindsey Salmon: Wow, Mom, I thought you'd given up knitting. Abigail Salmon: No, I'm still knitting. You want me to make you one, too? Buckley Salmon: Are we still a family? Grandma Lynn: Of course we're a family. Your mother's in crisis, your father's a wreck. Lindsey Salmon: What does that make you? Grandma Lynn: I'm in charge. Len Fenerman: [about Mr. Harvey] Your father put a hole in the man's back door. Lindsey Salmon: Yeah, he should have put a hole in his head. Lindsey Salmon: It doesn't have a siren, you moron. It's a cement mixer. Abigail Salmon: Please don't call your brother a moron. Ray Singh: [voiceover] If I had but an hour of love. If that be all is given me. An hour of love upon this earth... Susie Salmon: [reading poem] I would give my love to thee. The Moor. Buckley Salmon: Grandma? I know where Susie is. Grandma Lynn: Yeah, Susie's gone to heaven, sweetheart. Buckley Salmon: Lindsey said there is no heaven. Grandma Lynn: All right then, she's dead. Buckley Salmon: You might be dead soon. Grandma Lynn: Why do you say that? Buckley Salmon: Because you're old. Grandma Lynn: Thirty-five is not old. Susie Salmon: My murderer could live in one moment for a long time. He could feed off the memory, over and over again. He was animal. Faceless. Infinite. But then he would feel it, the emptiness returning, and the need would rise in him again. Susie Salmon: When I was alive, I never hated anyone. But now hate was all that I had. Susie Salmon: These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence. The connections, sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent., that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it.