In Leah's Wake
by Terri Giuliano Long
Description from Goodreads:
The Tylers have a perfect life--beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister's approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life...until Leah meets Todd, a former roadie for a rock band.
As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family-leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.
Can this family survive in Leah's wake? What happens when love just isn't enough?
In Leah’s Wake is a story about family, relationships, finding your true self, forgiveness, and taking action. It’s also a cautionary tale of how the small choices we make today can have immense costs tomorrow.
Pros – The biggest pro of reading this book is getting to know the characters. They are so nicely developed and full of depth. Even through their faults (and boy do they have them!) they are likeable, sympathetic and easy to relate to.
Leah – She’s not unlike many teens. She follows a path of destruction that is (unfortunately) common in today’s world.
Justine - Leah’s younger sister adds softness to the story. Her personality fits the little sister role very nicely.
Zoe & Will – These parents have completely different strategies of how to keep their marriage and family afloat.
Todd – No comment. (I don’t want to spoil anything for you.)
The plot is believable and kept me interested throughout. There were no lagging chapters or far-fetched scenes. Terri Giuliano Long did a fabulous job of allowing the severity of Leah’s mishaps and changes to develop as the story moved forward. (A major pro!) The progressing troubles and consequences give it a realistic, dynamic feel.
Cons – The use of character’s names was distracting at times. The flow would be smoother if the author used she and he (in place of names) throughout—especially the beginning. Perhaps because I was so wrapped up in the characters as I advanced through the story, I didn’t notice it as much later on. This is the only con that comes to mind though, and certainly not a reason to set the book aside.
Overall – I loved it! I recommend reading In Leah’s Wake. It is powerful, raw, and matter-of-fact. A story where relationships are strained, perceptions are distorted, and each character deals with their own unique internal struggles. Filled with angst, anger, resentment, fear, betrayal, love and underlying hope, In Leah’s Wake is an emotional read sure to leave you changed.
First Lines: Zoe and Will Tyler sat at their dining room table playing poker. The table, a nineteenth century, hand-carved mahogany, faced the bay window overlooking their sprawling front yard.