A moving story of guilt and loss that intelligently details the effects on a community of an accident in which two teenagers are killed while the driver escapes unscathed.
On the night Jennie Breeze gives birth to Alison, her teenaged daughter Tara’s best friends are killed in a car crash. If Jennie hadn't asked Tara to be there at the birth, along with husband Chris, Tara might also have been killed. Mother and daughter both experience a confusing mix of gratitude and guilt.Tara, always closer to her dad, retreats even further from Jennie, who must also cope with a newborn and run her home-based business. Matt Fallon, the teenaged driver of the car, is new in town; he’s being home-schooled, and the locals think him a religious weirdo, but Matt, a wonderfully well-drawn character, is good, thoughtful, and kind. He's also an adolescent discovering girls for the first time; the accident occurred when he took his eyes off the road to look at Erica, who was sitting next to him, which, naturally, makes him feel even guiltier about what happened. Matt was driving because Rachel and Erica were drunk, but he was underage and had no license. While Matt waits to be sentenced, the town shuns him—except for Jennie, who gives him a job, because she too once endured a terrible summer. She was a new mother, gossiped about by the locals and ignored by her own mother because, pregnant with Tara, she had to drop out of college and marry Chris. As Matt struggles with remorse, Jennie, a sensitive and refreshingly sensible woman, tries to help him and Tara. But as sentencing nears, she's sandbagged by unexpected emotions that require her to make difficult decisions.
A quiet and unpretentious debut with almost perfect emotional pitch.