Family, fame and a perceptive youngster's idea that "We are designed for belief" all collide in this debut novel.
Luke Prescott is a precocious soon-to-be high-school senior living in Delaware with this mother and grandmother. He knows about things like "neurotransmitter protein receptors" and cross-country running, but he doesn't know his father. Sara, his mother, is a picture-perfect New Age woman. Dressing up her life with elements of Buddhism and Eastern thought, she co-owns a wellness center and teaches yoga. Nana, Sara's mother and the widow of a Christian missionary killed by South American jungle tribesmen, provides both acceptance and stability for the family. That includes Luke's two sisters, Aurora and Pearl, in college in New York as the story unfolds. Nana's family traces its lineage to the 1600s through a series of women who each had three daughters, only one of whom had children, all of whom were daughters. Luke says, "I don't think it means anything," but it has informed his introspective, intuitive and reflective personality. Into this mix comes Mark Franco, Luke's biological father, the popular star of a highly rated TV series. Mark asks to meet Luke, offspring of a one-night romance, and with Sara's agreement, Mark flies Luke to Hollywood to spend the summer. Luke sees the money-fame-glamour side of life, Sara grows jealous and the particles that make up this nuclear family become rearranged. The novel resonates with authenticity, both with its description of the world of women from which Luke emerges and the world of easy celebrity in which he is tempered. Even many of Howrey's minor characters—Luke's sisters, for example—shine, and the narrative, related in alternate segments from Luke's point of view and in the third person, will draw the reader in.
A wonderfully intriguing examination of what makes, and might break, a family.