The lives of three high schoolers become deeply entangled around the birth of a child.
After his mother’s death, Dawson is furious that he and his father have moved to a small town in Tennessee. Then he spots magnetic Sloan, whose sexy voice and dynamic presence rock the stage. Lani is attracted to Dawson’s easy good looks, but she never even talks to him in school. Unprotected sex, once, sweeps Sloan and Dawson into a relationship they never wanted. Sloan dreams of being a rock star, and Dawson is on track for college and career. It isn’t until after the baby, Gabriel, is born with asthma and in need of around-the-clock care that Sloan runs off, and now nursing student Lani moves directly into Dawson’s life. The story spans a decade, laboriously detailing Sloan’s travails with the band (complete with drugs and sex) and Lani and Dawson’s as they care for Gabriel but deny themselves their growing love for one another. All three of the young, white adults must rearrange their original goals to accommodate life’s terrain, struggling with their own ambitions, love, disappointment, and devastating grief. The tale spools along like a Hallmark television drama, the author’s third-person narrative dispassionate and bland despite the book’s emotional landscape.
A standard weeper. (Fiction. 13-18)