Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sponsor: IN LEAH'S WAKE by Terri Guiliano Long

Book Blurb:
Recipient of the Coffee Time Reviewers Recommend (CTRR) Award

The Tyler family had the perfect life - until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn't want to be perfect anymore.

While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.
What happens when love just isn't enough?

This mesmerizing debut novel tells the tale of a contemporary American family caught in the throes of adolescent rebellion - a heartbreaking, funny, ultimately redemptive quest for love, independence, connection and grace.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Leahs-Reviewer-Recommend-Bundlz-ebook/dp/B0044XV7PG

Reviewer comments:
"Terri's way of telling this story is superb, compelling, and leaves a huge impact on you." Bookworm Nattie

"The fraught interactions between the parents and their daughter Leah are so absolutely real that I was astounded by Terri Long's mastery of human relationships at their worst--and best." Jenny Wallis

"This novel is exemplary. The writing style keeps you engrossed and the characters and their lives keep you captivated." Sapphyria

Author Bio:
Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life's highs and comfort in its lows. She's all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and as a lecturer at Boston College.

While her passion lies in the written word, Terri's primary inspiration comes from her interest in existential philosophy and her observations of people and human nature. Her stories expand upon the subtle truths and what-ifs of everyday life. No matter where her stories journey, they always tie back to the family--the ways we love yet, in loving, too often hurt one another, the grief, the sorrow, the revelation, and the joy. Terri's goal is to offer lasting hope and deep emotional connection in a compact and entertaining package.

Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, traveling to far-flung places, and meeting interesting people. True to her Italian-American heritage, she's an enthusiastic cook and she loves fine wine and good food. In an alternate reality, she could have been very happy as an international food writer.

Terri loves connecting with people who share her passions. She can be reached on her website (www.tglong.com), blog (www.tglong.com/blog), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tglongwrites) or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/tglong)

Book Excerpt:

“. . . little heart of mine, believe me, everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything. I don’t know how to explain it to you, but I feel it is so, painfully even. And how is it we went on living, getting angry and not knowing?”
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Grand Inquisitor

Justine strikes a pose before the full-length mirror hanging on her closet door. Chin up, hands by her sides. She draws a breath. “My dear. . .” she begins, and stops mid-sentence. Wrinkles her nose. She’s got it all wrong. She’s too—Too stiff. Too grownup. Too something.
She rakes her fingers over her short dark hair, sweeping the bangs out of her eyes, tugs at the hem of her pink baby-doll pajamas. She’s scheduled to deliver the candidates’ address at her Confirmation Mass this afternoon. When she learned, six months ago, that she had been selected speaker, Justine was ecstatic. Now, the very idea of standing in front of the whole congregation, telling hundreds, maybe thousands, of people how she’s learned from her own family what it means to be part of God’s larger family makes her sick to her stomach.
She has no choice. She made a commitment.
She folds her hands primly, setting them at chest height on her imaginary podium, glances at her cheat sheet, rolls her lower face into a smile, and begins again. “My fellow Confirmation candidates,” she says this time. Justine crumples the paper, tosses it onto her bed. My fellow Confirmation candidates. What a dork. She sounds about twenty, instead of thirteen.
She screws up her face. “I can’t do this,” she says, wagging a finger at the girl watching her from the mirror. She would feel like a hypocrite.
Justine plods to the bathroom, pees, pads back to her bedroom. The forecasters are predicting snow, starting later today. A dismal gray stratus hangs over her skylight. Her room is dark, the air raw. Her sister’s blue and gold Cortland High sweatshirt lies in a heap at the foot of her bed. Justine pulls the sweatshirt over her head, retrieves the balled-up paper. With the back of her hand, she flattens it out, and returns to the mirror to practice.
As always, on first glance, the girl in the mirror takes Justine by surprise. She’s grown two inches since Christmas, isn’t chubby anymore, her belly flat, the clavicle bones visible now at the base of her throat. She pushes her bangs out of her pale, darkly fringed eyes. With her fingertips, she touches her cheeks. Her features have matured, her nose long and straight, like her mother’s, her cheekbones defined. She curls and uncurls her toes. She wears a size six shoe, a size and a half smaller than Leah. Her toes are long and slim, the nails painted blue.

Justine crushes the sheet of paper, tosses it in the trash, strolls to her window, raises the honeycomb shade. Spring feels a long way away, the yard empty, the trees bare. A rush of cold air streams in, under the sash. The air smells of snow. Justine presses her hand against the cool glass, the way she and her sister used to do on the windshield of their father’s car, when they were small. Stop, their father would scold. You’re making a mess. She smiles, remembering how Leah loved egging him on. She pulls her hand away from the glass, watches her prints disappear.

Justine wishes, sometimes, that she could disappear, too. Poof, just like the handprint. Poof, just like her sister.