Scholastic Press is targeting Edwidge Danticat’s new novel “Untwine” at readers 12 and older. But this tale of grief and resilience should appeal to people who love Danticat’s fiction for adults, too, such as “Breath, Eyes, Memory” and “Claire of the Sea Light.”

It recounts a sundering so painful it reminds me of the chilling description in “El Cid”: como la uña de la carne (like the nail from the flesh). But Danticat delivers this news with remarkable restraint, a Sade of prose who sings about heartbreak in the coolest of voices.

As 16-year-old twins Giselle and Isabelle Boyer ride to a school orchestra concert in Miami with their parents, a red minivan slams into their vehicle, twice. Before the second, bigger impact, Giselle remembers a moment of connection with her sister:

“We were holding hands just as we had been holding hands on the day we were born. We had shared the same amniotic sac, and during Mom’s C-section, the doctor told our parents that he would need to untwine our fingers to separate us.”

Giselle comes back to awareness in an ambulance, beginning a stretch of days in which she is intermittently aware of what people are saying to her and about her in her presence. But she, severely concussed, can neither speak nor respond physically to them. (If you’re among those who believe that unconscious people, even people in comas, somehow hear or sense what you say to them, this is most certainly your novel.)

In her locked-in state, she thinks about her parents, who were on the verge of separating before the accident. She wonders about her cat, Dessalines. She worries about a lack of overheard news about her sister Isabelle, the twin born 90 seconds earlier and 4 ounces heavier, and to her mind always the stronger.

Isabelle is a musician, a flutist who writes short stories and scribbles atop them with red marker, “To Be Put to Music One Day.” Giselle is an artist who loves to sketch her sister.

“Looking at Isabelle made my body feel a lot less mysterious to me,” she tells us. “It was my only way of knowing what my body looks like not just from front and back, but from every possible angle.”

Two paintings feature prominently in this novel and in Giz’s recovery: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Riding With Death” and Frida Kahlo’s “The Two Fridas.”

The many visitors to her room include her Haitian grandparents, crusty yet dependable, and her beloved Aunt Leslie, a doctor who has put her practice on hold to help the family through this trauma – and who lets devastating news slip because she doesn’t realize the unconscious teen can hear her.

Eventually, Giselle can speak again; she and her injured parents begin a slow healing process, physically and emotionally. All seem confused by recurring visits from a police officer who wonders if the accident may not have been one, if the Boyers were targeted somehow. (Giselle’s father is an attorney who handles asylum and immigration cases.) This plot element ultimately delivers less value than I anticipated it would, but it’s the only thing I can nitpick in this beautiful novel.

In “Untwine” Danticat takes several staples of young imaginations (and some old ones, too) – the idea of hearing what everyone says about you, the secret communications of twins, even the fantasy of attending your own funeral – and spins something beautiful yet down to earth out of each one. While Danticat fully grounds Giselle in her identity as a Haitian-American teen in Miami, this gentle young artist could speak to any teen anywhere coping with a major loss.

While still in the hospital, Giselle dreams of receiving a bedside visit from her sister, bringing a sassy 16-year-old kind of blessing:

“‘You’ve really astonished me here,’ she says, looking down on me in the bed. ‘You’ve been great. Super great. For the rest of your life, you keep stunning me. Just keep stunning me.'”