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"In Leah's Wake" brings us into the small personal world of one little family that has struggled behind the scenes with their oldest daughter Leah's radical change in behavior. Going from a straight A student and star soccer player with her choice of colleges trying to recruit her to drinking, drug use, and reckless behavior - Leah struggles to create her own identity that is separate from that of the one her parents have always driven her to obtain.
The roller coaster of family drama taxes Will and Zoe's marriage which has never been a relationship of ease. One of the most haunting aspects is the unnoticed pain and suffering experienced by their youngest daughter, Justine. The reader becomes so engrossed in this family that their heart aches for this child - for all of them really - but especially Justine. Even when her beloved pet Dog dies, her grief and isolation pour off the pages.
Writing from five points of view, the author has created a distinct suspension of disbelief that makes you feel caught up in their world, buying into the tragedy that so many families in this country can identify with. Her ability to create characters who are so perfectly flawed that you can't help but love them is a true gift. She has fully dimenional characters with layers that do not feel flat in any way. The reader wants resolution, wants to see this family reunite, wants the family to recognize how very much they love each other - because the reader feels they know these people as well as themselves. A true writing talent I think.
Of course, I cannot write a review without commenting on the author's beautiful use of prose. I love her attention to detail, creating setting so vivid, one feels like they are there. Whether in a cold Maine hotel or a smoke filled room, the author brings her surroundings to life with the use of all senses.
Overall, if I could, I would give this novel 6 out of 5 stars. If you love Jodi Picoult or Alice Sebold - I highly recommend this novel. It is easily the best read that I have enjoyed in 2011.
To Win the Prizes
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