About the Novel:
Protecting their children comes naturally for Zoe and Will Tyler—until their daughter Leah decides to actively destroy her own future.
Leah grew up in a privileged upper-middle class world. Her parents spared no expense for her happiness; she had all-but secured an Ivy League scholarship and a future as a star athlete. Then she met Todd.
Leah’s parents watch helplessly as their daughter falls into a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties. While Will attempts to control his daughter’s every move to prevent her from falling deeper into this dangerous new life, Zoe prefers to give Leah slack in the hope that she may learn from her mistakes. Their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage.
Twelve-year-old Justine observes Leah’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family. She desperately seeks her big sister’s approval and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. Meanwhile she is left to question whether her parents love her and whether God even knows she exists.
What happens when love just isn’t enough? Who will pay the consequences of Leah’s vagrant lifestyle? Can this broken family survive the destruction left in Leah’s wake?
This mesmerizing debut novel tells the tale of a contemporary American family caught in the throes of adolescent rebellion – a heartbreaking, funny, ultimately redemptive quest for love, independence, connection and grace.
In Leah’s Wake is the 2011 BOOK BUNDLZ BOOK CLUB PICK and recipient of the Coffee Time Reviewers Recommend (CTRR) Award. This award, as selected by reviewers, recognizes outstanding writing styles in all book types and genres.
About the Author:
Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the award-winning novel In Leah’s Wake. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College.
Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, traveling to far-flung places, and meeting interesting people. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook and she loves fine wine and good food. In an alternate reality, she could have been very happy as an international food writer.
Terri loves meeting and connecting with people who share her passions.
You can visit her website at www.tglong.com or connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/tglong and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites.
Justine strikes a pose before the full-length mirror hanging on her closet door. Chin up, hands by her sides. She draws a breath. “My dear. . .” she begins, and stops mid-sentence. Wrinkles her nose. She’s got it all wrong. She’s too—Too stiff. Too grownup. Too something.
She rakes her fingers over her short dark hair, sweeping the bangs out of her eyes, tugs at the hem of her pink baby-doll pajamas. She’s scheduled to deliver the candidates’ address at her Confirmation Mass this afternoon. When she learned, six months ago, that she had been selected speaker, Justine was ecstatic. Now, the very idea of standing in front of the whole congregation, telling hundreds, maybe thousands, of people how she’s learned from her own family what it means to be part of God’s larger family makes her sick to her stomach.
She has no choice. She made a commitment.
She folds her hands primly, setting them at chest height on her imaginary podium, glances at her cheat sheet, rolls her lower face into a smile, and begins again. “My fellow Confirmation candidates,” she says this time. Justine crumples the paper, tosses it onto her bed. My fellow Confirmation candidates. What a dork. She sounds about twenty, instead of thirteen.
She screws up her face. “I can’t do this,” she says, wagging a finger at the girl watching her from the mirror. She would feel like a hypocrite.
Justine plods to the bathroom, pees, pads back to her bedroom. The forecasters are predicting snow, starting later today. A dismal gray stratus hangs over her skylight. Her room is dark, the air raw. Her sister’s blue and gold Cortland High sweatshirt lies in a heap at the foot of her bed. Justine pulls the sweatshirt over her head, retrieves the balled-up paper. With the back of her hand, she flattens it out, and returns to the mirror to practice.
As always, on first glance, the girl in the mirror takes Justine by surprise. She’s grown two inches since Christmas, isn’t chubby anymore, her belly flat, the clavicle bones visible now at the base of her throat. She pushes her bangs out of her pale, darkly fringed eyes. With her fingertips, she touches her cheeks. Her features have matured, her nose long and straight, like her mother’s, her cheekbones defined. She curls and uncurls her toes. She wears a size six shoe, a size and a half smaller than Leah. Her toes are long and slim, the nails painted blue.
Justine crushes the sheet of paper, tosses it in the trash, strolls to her window, raises the honeycomb shade. Spring feels a long way away, the yard empty, the trees bare. A rush of cold air streams in, under the sash. The air smells of snow. Justine presses her hand against the cool glass, the way she and her sister used to do on the windshield of their father’s car, when they were small. Stop, their father would scold. You’re making a mess. She smiles, remembering how Leah loved egging him on. She pulls her hand away from the glass, watches her prints disappear.
Justine wishes, sometimes, that she could disappear, too. Poof, just like the handprint.
Poof, just like her sister.
WHAT A BOOK! I can't say that enough, I LOVED this one! A must-read because it will connect to every reader on many levels.
We all know a Leah, Justine, Zoe, or a Todd - many of us can relate to the image of the perfect family gone wrong. Anyone with kids knows the fear a parent has about their child choosing the "wrong" path. We can all identify with things not being the way we desperately want them to be. Because of all of these connections with readers it is hard not to be able to carve out your own little place in this novel. Terri does a magnificent job writing and readers will be hard-pressed not to hang on every page.
For a debut novel this one is a real winner and something that I highly recommend to my readers. You will find yourself not wanting to get towards the end because while you want to know what happens to this family you don't want their story to end - it is that captivating.
I also appreciate how the dynamics of a family are illustrated and it becomes clear right away that every action or decision made by one family member greatly impacts the others and it truly is a cohesive unit that bends, stretches, and has growing pains. Watching this family work through very real problems that exist in families with adolescents today is heart wrenching, however, Terri really does show the growth that can take place too - and it isn't only growth for the kids, the Zoe and Todd's marriage is impacted in ways they never thought possible. I enjoyed watching the dynamics of it all unfold.
Big kudos to Terri, I am a definite fan and will be anxiously awaiting more work from you!