Category Archives: William Morrow

Review: A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (September 23, 2014)
  • ISBN: 9780062284068
  • Source: Publisher

In 2006, Reggie Shaw, a Utah college student, was involved in a brutal car crash that instantly killed two men. The accident wasn’t caused by inclement weather or adverse road conditions. It occurred because Reggie Shaw’s attention was elsewhere: on his cell phone. In the minutes that led up to the accident, Reggie was sending texts to his on-again, off-again girlfriend. Sending the texts took seconds. The damage caused by the distraction forever changed the lives of numerous people.

In this narrative non-fiction, Richtel shares scientific evidence that details how our attention is easily comprised by technology.  We all experience this; one of the examples noted is the cocktail party effect. We can listen to a conversation with someone while our attention is elsewhere.  The same is true with our cell phones in cars, but the difference is we think we can balance that attention without any harm. That is clearly not the case. Texting while driving has deadly consequences.

The scientific evidence Richtel further shows just how addicted we are to our technology. Responding to a text, getting an instant response or interaction is, to our bodies, like a drug.  The high is similar to the effects of drugs or of having sex. Like other addictions, the need for more intensifies over time until it reaches an unhealthy level.

Richtel, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, succeeds at his intent to get this message across to his readers.  Balancing a truly horrific accident with scientific evidence grabs the reader with heart-breaking emotion from the very few pages.  Readers follow Reggie through the accident investigation, his prosecution, and how his life, too, was changed by this accident.

It’s obvious that Richtel knows his data. This is clear in the evidence he relays, but also in the formatting of this book.  He knows our attention spans are short. With the internet, and text messages, information has to be relayed in short bursts or our attention is lost.  So, to keep his readers’ attention, each chapter is limited to a handful of pages.

As I devoured this book, I often forgot I was reading a piece of non-fiction.  The constant reminder that this story is real was horrifying to me. Yet the emotion, the intensity Richtel uses captivates a reader much like a suspense or thriller novel. Unfortunately, this story is all too real.

As the mother of a young man who will be driving within the next year, I genuinely think this book should be required reading for teens participating in driving programs.  We all remember what it is like to be a teenager; our social lives are the most important things to us. What we need to ingrain in the minds of our children is that texting while driving has deadly consequences. No conversation or relationship is worth the life of another human being.

It is rare that I say everyone should read a book. In this case, I almost demand it. While I read an egalley, I will be buying a print copy for my son. I will encourage his school library to carry it in their collection. I will share it with my friends so they, too, can have their children read it. This book is that important.

 

Review: The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (April 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0062316869
  • Source: Publisher

Fourteen individuals from a small Irish village left their loved ones behind as they embarked on a journey to New York City via the RMS Titanic. A new, better life was awaiting each of them upon their arrival.  One of these individuals is Maggie Murphy, a seventeen year old woman who is bittersweet about leaving her home and her beau, Seamus.  When disaster hits, Maggie is one of the two survivors from this small Irish village.

When she awakens in New York City, without any knowledge of how she gets there. Maggie attempts to banish all thoughts and memories of what happened that horrible night  the Titanic  struck an iceberg. Her friends and loved ones were separated from her in the rush to evacuate. She is haunted screams of victims, the vision of those less fortunate than her, frozen in the frigid ocean waters.

Seventy years later: Chicago. Grace Butler has returned home to help care for her mother after her father’s sudden death. In doing so, she’s given up her hopes of a future in journalism, at least temporarily. When she’s given a once in a lifetime opportunity to write for a major paper, Grace must come up with a unique feature story that will impress the editors. Thanks to her great grandmother, Maggie, she gets that story.

Reluctant to discuss her past all these years, Maggie opens up to her niece and shares with her stories and journal articles of what transpired upon the Titanic, both before and after the disaster.  In doing so, both women, reflect upon how few chances we each get in life, and how important to savor each day as if it is your last.

Novels surrounding the horrific events that transpired around the sinking of the Titanic are certainly not unique, especially after the centennial anniversary just a few years ago. Yet with The Girl Who Came Home, Gaynor gives us a unique perspective, a fictionalized account based on actual individuals.

While this title didn’t grab my attention immediately, after a few patient moments of reading I became captivated, unable to tear my attention away from the story of Maggie and others who thought they were embarking upon journey leading to a happy and successful life.

That’s not to say this is a dark and dreary story; it is actually quite the opposite. While the story of what transpired on the Titanic  is devastating, what comes next for the survivors (even decades down the road), is wholly hopeful and heartwarming.

The Girl Who Came Home is a must-read for fans interested in the story of the Titanic, as well as readers seeking a unique spin an event forever etched in history. Highly, highly recommended.

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me opportunity to participate in this tour. Please be sure to check out the other stops in the tour!

 

Review: After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (February 11, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0062083392
  • Source: Publisher

Felix Brewer sustains his family, including wife Bambi and three daughters, via a lucrative, yet not necessarily legal, business. Facing jail time, he disappears without a trace leaving his family and stripper mistress, Julie, in his wake.  Despite his lucrative business, Felix’s family doesn’t have a dime to survive on, Bambi assuming Julie has somehow obtained his fortune. Then, exactly ten years later, Julie disappears and everyone assumes she has left to meet up with Felix. Their assumptions are contradicted when, 26 years after Felix’s disappearance, Julie’s body is found in a wooded area.

Sandy Sanchez, a retired detective, decides to take on the cold case. A widower, Sandy has his own share of ghosts in his past.  He begins to interrogate anyone with any sort of involvement in the case. He soon discovers that Felix’s family members have their own secrets to hide, from both the public and one another. Slowly but surely, he is able to meld their stories together and recreate what happened that fateful day Felix disappeared.

Lippman is skilled at crafting a well-paced thriller, bits and pieces evenly and painstakingly revealed just at the right moment. This slower pacing allows her to develop and introduce a dynamic cast of characters and granting a number of voices the opportunity to tell their story. The storyline alternates between past and present, allowing characters both alive and deceased, to share their point of view without judgement.

The pain that the women in this thriller experience is quite evident and intensely moving and heartbreaking. Felix’s disappearance made a huge and lasting impact on their lives, each of them reflecting on how things could and would have been different had he not disappeared. Readers can’t help but feel for each of them, wanting to comfort them through the pain.

While After I’m Gone is a thriller at the core, it is also an intense character study. Readers learn not only about Felix and his surviving family members, including the five women in his life (wife, three daughters, and mistress) but also of Sandy and his immigration from Cuba. I’m honestly hoping we see more of Sandy’s character!

Fans of Lippman’s writing will be pleased to know that the twists and turns in plot are evident and abundant in this read.  Also apparent are characters from her other series, a real treat for long-time fans. Readers new to Lippman’s work can use this stand-alone as a jumping point into her truly talented writing. Highly recommended!

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this title! Make sure you check out the other stops in this tour!

The publisher is hosting a sweepstakes for reviews of AFTER I’M GONE. Any review posted  before March 1st and submitted to TLC Book Tours is eligible for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card! If you have reviewed this title, , please fill out this form to submit your review for the sweepstakes!

Review: Starter House by Sonja Condit

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (December 31, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062283057
  • Source:  Publisher

When Lacey and Eric, a young expectant couple, began their home-shopping journey, Lacey knew exactly what she wanted in a house.  Growing up with unstable living arrangements and a flighty mother, she wanted more for her unborn child. When she saw “the house,” she knew it had to be theirs. Their realtor tried to warn her that deaths had occurred in that home, but Lacey would hear nothing of it. The house had to be theirs.

Soon after, a dark presence envelopes the house. The “spirit” of a young boy, Drew, makes his presence known. He’s tied to the house, unable to leave. His temperament is uncontrollable and soon his very existence, along with the dark presence in the home, begin to affect Lacey and her baby physically.  As she begins to investigate the history of the house and its inhabitants, she uncovers the first of many dark secrets: No baby has survived in that home in over 40 years. Determined to save the life of her unborn child, Lacey will stop at nothing to bring to light the secrets that have been haunting this home for all these years.

I’m all about a spooky story and, in a large part, Starter House succeeded at sending chills down my spine. The dark presence, the horrific family secrets long ago buried, all added up to a wonderfully creep experience.  The images of the spirit of young Drew and his emotional outbursts was truly terrifying. I don’t know about you, but creepy ghosty kids truly terrify me.

That said, there were aspects of the story that irritated me. Lacey, before the move, was a teacher. Fine, that’s great. I like teachers. Yet the author repeatedly brought up the fact that she was a teacher, that she would have what it would take to tame this emotional and unruly young ghost.  One or two times, I’m okay. Repeatedly? It makes me feel like the author things I’m an idiot or have a short term memory.

Additionally, there were connections between characters that I think were a bit far-fetching. I’m not going to specifically mention which characters as I don’t want to influence the perceptions or experience of other readers but when you come across it, you’ll understand what I’m referring to.

That said, despite these few issues I did honestly enjoy this novel. Starter House succeeded at spooking me! An impressive debut, I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to participate in this tour. Please be sure to check out the official tour page for additional stops in the tour!

Review: Cut to the Bone: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

  • Series: Body Farm Novel
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (September 24, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062262300
  • Source: Publisher

It’s the summer of 1992.  Dr. Bill Brockton is the head of the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Department.  After having his credibility tested while on the stand, Brockton is desperate to find a gauge for estimating a victim’s time of death. Therefore, he and his young assistant embark upon the most unusual of research projects: creating an outdoor “lab” facility that will allow them to study insect growth and maturity on corpses of the deceased.

Brockton’s hopes of revolutionizing forensics are thwarted when he is called in to help the police investigate a brutal killing. Its resemblance to a case he worked years ago is uncanny. When another murder with similarities to those in his past takes place, Brockton realizes that this brutal serial killer is trying to gain his attention.  Clearly he did something to infuriate this heartless killer.  Brockton must not only help identify this killer but simultaneously protect his loved ones from his potential wrath.

I was thrilled beyond belief when I learned that this dynamic writing duo was releasing the prequel to one of my all-time favorite forensic thriller series.  I have always been fascinated with the real-life “Body Farm” Dr. Bass created in 1980, so learning about the creation of the fictionalized version really had my attention. What I really appreciated about this novel was learning more about the young Dr. Brockton and his motives for his course of study.

If you (gasp!) haven’t started this series yet, this prequel is the perfect impetus to get you started! The writers have skill at relaying just enough forensic details to intrigue the reader without bogging them down with complex and technical terminology.  If you are a fan of any of the crime scene television series like CSI or Bones, I guarantee you will be a fan of this truly outstanding series!  Highly, highly recommended.

Review: The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle

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  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 5, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062206459
  • Source: Publisher

Rain and her husband, TJ, a popular high school teacher, are struggling with infertility.  Each month Rain if faced with defeat at the news she isn’t pregnant.   She thought that this was going to be the most difficult challenge she and TJ would face together. She was wrong.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti has always been the daughter her mother, Dinah, could count on. She was an excellent student with plans to go away to college the following year.  Then it happened: an affair began between Morgan and her history teacher, Mr. Hill. When her secret was revealed, Morgan never let her parents believe that she had been taken advantage of or exploited. She knew what they were doing was wrong and assumed that since she was so close to her eighteenth birthday they could get away with it. Never did she believe that Mr. Hill would get in trouble for their indiscretions.  Her feelings were so strong that she did the unthinkable come the trial date. Rather than sit alongside her parents, she sat behind the man she loved.

Told from the perspectives of Rain, Morgan, and her mother, Dinah, The Whole Golden World brings to light a whole range of issues, from marriage and deceit, motherhood and consent.  The stories each of these women tell is remarkable. Rain, shocked at the news of the accusations against her husband immediately defends him despite the accumulating evidence. Morgan refused to be a victim, standing tall behind her feelings and responsibility to tell the truth. Dinah, so full of hope for her daughter, just wanting to protect her and give her the life she thinks she deserves. The reader follows each of these women as they juggle what is best for them and those around them.

This novel is much more than its summary suggests. It goes far beyond the story of a teacher/student affair. It goes to the very core of how we, as women, are portrayed. How we are expected to respond to certain situations, and how it is imperative that we stand up for what we believe in.  That’s not to say that these characters don’t have faults for they most certainly do.  I am certain readers will have very strong opinions about each of the characters. I, personally, found my opinion changing as the story played out and we saw the true face of the characters.

Riggle faces a truly difficult subject matter and proves that, in some cases, the guilty party isn’t obvious. In cases like this, we most often assume that the teacher is the perpetrator, the individual pursuing the student. But what if that isn’t the case? What if the lines of guilt are vague and wavering? While this topic matter is emotional and difficult to face, Riggle does it with an intensity and respect not seen before in other books like it.  It’s obvious that she developed each of her characters with an intense amount of thought, patience, and consideration. She illustrates that it only takes a single lapse in judgement, one single moment in time, to forever alter one’s life and those around them.

Since there are so many topics of discussion in this novel, I highly recommend it to book clubs. After reading it, you will want to discuss it with others. This is a book that still has me thinking, long after I finished read it. Highly, highly recommended.

 

Review: Help for the Haunted by John Searles

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (September 17, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0060779632
  • Source: Publisher

Sylvie Mason’s parents don’t have traditional occupations. Instead, they are demonologists, helping those haunted from spirits beyond seek peace.  It was pretty normal for them to receive calls late at night, but one night, they receive a more pressing call. They wake Sylvie from her sleep to join them as they drive to a church across town. They enter and Sylvie falls back asleep waiting for them to return. She’s awakened by an earth-shattering scream.  Sylvie doesn’t recall much about what happened once she walked through the doors of the church, the shock of discovering her parents brutally murdered leaves her memories spotty at best.

A year later, Sylvie is under the care of her older sister, Rose. The conditions are less than desirable: Rose refuses to accept the meals left by strangers on their front porch for fear they are poisoned. Despite getting money that should be put toward food and clothing for Sylvie, they mostly sustain on popsicles for dinner and, despite the chill fall temperatures, Sylvie’s wardrobe consists of tank tops, capris, and flip-flops.  Sylvie is a loner, many of her classmates bully her,  making fun of her deceased parents’ occupation and speculating as to the contents of her parents’ basement workplace. Not helping the situation is Sylvie’s feeling that Rose is somehow responsible for what happened to their parents.

Soon after her parents’ death, Sylvie identified a man responsible for the killings.  This man, a former client of the Mason’s, is angered about what transpired while his daughter was under their care. At the time, he had no alibi but suddenly not one, but several, have appeared. Sylvie is forced to confront what she recalls happening that fateful evening. She only has a few days to provide the prosecutor with a decision about her testimony. What she uncovers is far more haunting than the spirits her parents faced.

Help for the Haunted is not only a chilling thriller, but also a coming-of-age novel about a young girl forced to question everything she has believed to be true about her parents and their unusual occupation.  Going in, I thought this novel, compared to the likes of Stephen King, would have more of a horror feel to it. Instead, I was surprised to discover that while it does deal with hauntings, they are of a more personal or “ghosts in the closet” sort of spirits.  That’s not to say there isn’t a supernatural edge to this novel, but the title Help for the Haunted alludes more to the living than the dead.

What makes this novel stand out to me, personally, is how invested I became in Sylvie’s character. At fourteen (the same age as my son) she’s just entering a phase in one’s life when they discover their own individuality, breaking free of the strings that tied them to their parents. For Sylvie to lose her parents at such a monumental time in her life is devastating. My heart broke for Sylvie and all she was forced to endure. Yet, despite these challenges she rose up to face them, ignoring all fear and misgivings.  Through flashbacks, the reader joins Sylvie as she examines incidents that, at the time, seemed trivial but ultimately had a monumental impact on the future of Sylvie and her family as a whole.

Bottom line: Help for the Haunted is an emotional, chilling, and wholly memorable novel about the ghosts that haunt us, supernatural or not.  One of my top books recommended for Fall! Highly recommended.

Preorder your copy of Help for the Haunted and be eligible to win two tickets to the smash Broadway production, Matilda. 

 

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Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (July 9, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062224840
  • Source: Publisher

Holly is a thirty-two year old widow. After her husband’s death, food was her only source of comfort. She didn’t plan on getting as large but without anyone to stop her, she frequently binge-eats rather than dealing with her loss. Logan Montgomery is a professional trainer catering to many of the big name athletes. Logan and Holly are forced together on a small flight, both would have preferred first class but were relegated to coach instead.

Holly certainly isn’t the sort of woman Logan would normally find attractive, but her sharp wit and sense of humor intrigues him. During the short flight, Holly frequently makes jokes about her own weight, but also lets Logan see a more vulnerable side of her. Against his better judgement, Logan offers to work with Holly on improving her physical fitness.

Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym, the pounds pouring off quite easily. Simultaneously, Logan sees a newer, more confidant side to Holly. She’s a relief to the perfectly toned, high-maintenance models he usually dates. As Holly transforms, so does Logan, and the two find themselves moving their relationship to a more intimate (and quite steamy) level.  Watching this transformation are Chase and Amanda Walker, Logan’s closest friends and confidants. They see the relationship is more serious than Holly and Logan will let on. Logan needs something more stable and genuine in his life, but once Holly’s new-and-improved body starts turning the heads of other men, Logan finds he has some competition.  Is Logan truly ready to give up his carefree life in order to be with a woman who goes against his typical mold for a partner? Is Holly ready to settle down again, just as her life is reawakening?

After meeting the author at BEA (Book Expo America), I was beyond thrilled to read her novel. Stephanie, much like Holly, is confidant, witty with a sharp sense of humor. What I valued the most is that she, like Holly, is a true, genuine woman. Stephanie has dealt with her weight all of her life and that thereby makes her an author I can trust due to her ability to share her own experiences through Holly’s characters.

Admittedly, going in, I was fearful that Big Girl Panties was a fluffy, chick-lit sort of novel that typically turn me off. Boy, was I wrong!  There is a huge message blended in this truly fantastic debut novel. True, Holly did lose weight in order to be happy, but in doing so she didn’t lose her own identity. And while Logan did aid her in this journey, she didn’t rely on him to make this transformation.  She took off on her own, not relying on anyone but herself to complete this journey of personal growth.

Holly and Logan as a couple…I admit it took me a little while to accept this. I was fearful Evanovich was embarking upon a formulaic path in which the ugly duckling falls for the gorgeous prince. That said, since itwasn’t a a forced or synthetic relationship but one that certainly broke all molds. Oh…and the sex. Whew! Let’s just say the steaminess went beyond the gym and the work-out routines!  Holly and Logan were one hot couple, to say the least!  What makes these scenes different than all others was the fact that Logan found most attractive in Holly the very things she thought would turn him off. He appreciated her natural beauty and found sensuality in aspects of her physique that she believed were her faults.

Ultimately, I was completely taken aback by how much I truly valued and appreciated this novel.  And, unlike many of the books I read and review, I was able to share my experiences with fellow readers almost immediately.  I was fortunate enough to be a winner of one of the Big Girl Panties House parties. Sponsored by the publisher, we received party favors, decorations, etc. During this discussion, we chatted about Logan’s revelations about the definition of true beauty reminded us of the interview in which Dustin Hoffman shares the sudden realization he experienced while preparing for his role in Tootsie. Finally, we were also given the opportunity to as questions of Stephanie live through a Spreecast chat. A truly wonderful and memorable experience overall!

If you are looking for a beach read that is full of genuine characters and a bit of steam, this is the novel for you. Highly, highly recommended!

 

Review: The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

    The-Last-Original-Wife

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (June 11, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062132466
  • Source: Publisher

Leslie Anne Greene Carter is just about to turn sixty. She married young to Wesley and a majority of her life has been devoted to being a good wife and a doting mother. In their Atlanta social circle, she is the last original wife. Wesley’s friends have all married young, stunningly beautiful women barely out of their twenties. She soon realizes that she has nothing in common with these women. Why must she try so hard to get along with women she doesn’t want to have anything to do with? To make matters worse, Wesley sees their marriage as more of a convenience. Leslie does everything for Wesley and their two adult children and finds that she has ignored her own needs and desires for far too long.

After a series of incidents pushes Leslie over the edge she decides to return to Charleston, her hometown, and stay with her brother in his stunning historical home. She takes the opportunity to do all the things she should have been doing all along. She is reunited with her old high school flame and together the two wine and dine in the luxurious and historical southern city. Finally Leslie discovers just what it is she wants out of life, a discovery that has been a long time coming.

Told in chapters alternating between Leslie and Wesley’s points of view, the intent of The Last Original Wife is to be a story of love, friendship, and self-discovery. I’ve been a long-time fan of this author’s work, relishing in the sweet southern setting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite the same reaction to this novel.

As a reader, I like a novel’s character to develop before my eyes, allowing me to make judgements and form my own opinion of that character as they are built up and revealed. In this case, however, I felt I was force-fed a character with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I felt manipulated, in a sense.  I wanted to discover for my own what sort of character this man and I felt I missed out a lot by being forced to accept and honestly hate a character that was handed to me on a plate.

Additionally, I’m all about self-discovery and rebirth…but why is it that it has to involve a woman in an unhappy marriage with an absolutely despicable man? Anyone, even in the happiest of marriages, can undergo a need to discover oneself and embark on a journey to do so. In this novel, the intense distaste for Wesley’s character was so strong, I felt it really detracted from the story.  I wanted to celebrate Leslie’s journey with her but instead found myself shaking my fist and yelling each time I picked up the book. The overwhelming negative feelings prevented me from truly appreciate what I think was the author’s intended message in this novel.

This won’t deter me from reading Frank’s work in the future. She is such a talented writer that I would be missing out if I allowed one experience to detract me from reading her writing. While this isn’t the novel for me, perhaps other readers out there can overlook the issues that disturbed me so.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this title. Please be sure to check out the other stops along the way.

My Latest Obsession: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Typically, I reserve Fridays to review particularly terrifying and chilling books as part of my Frightful Friday feature. This Friday I thought I’d change things up a bit and instead showcase a book that I’ve become obsessed with as of late, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

I can’t tell you win I first discovered Gaiman’s writing. I can, however, share how each and everything this man has written has changed my life, allowing me to see the world in a completely new way. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no different. In this novel, the reader is introduced to a nameless middle-aged man who has returned to his childhood home for a funeral. While the house is once lived in is gone, he gravitates to the farmhouse at the end of the lane. The site of an event that forever altered his life, the farmhouse almost calls out to him and instantly he is taken back in time to when he was seven years old and met a girl named Lettie Hempstock. The past that comes back is far too dark for any child to have actually experienced.

As a child, the young boy was quite bookish. Never having many friends, he instead found comfort in reading. The impetus for the drastic change in his life started with a suicide, sparking a series of events that brought darkness to the already dark and lonely world of this little boy.  The only light he sees in his world is young Lettie.  He recalls Lettie introducing him to a pond at the end of the lane.  She didn’t refer it it as a pond, though, for instead she insisted that small circle of water was actually an ocean.

Lettie has a feeling of uniqueness surrounding her. She seems to know far more than any child her age would ever know, an insight to the deepest and darkest parts of the world around her. It is this bond he has formed with this unique young girl that allows this young boy to face a host of dark and terrifying experiences brought upon him.

I don’t want to divulge too much about the synopsis for fear of taking away from your reading experience. At it’s core, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a book about the innocence of childhood and what happens when that innocence is broken. In typical Gaiman style, this is all introduced in a dark, mythical and magical manner.

The main character is a young boy who escapes life by immersing himself in the world of the books he reads. For a child his age, he’s devoured books that are far beyond his years.  While he is still relatively young, he’s beginning to notice the differences between adults and children, how we all seem to lose a bit of our innocence and imagination as we mature.

Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn’t adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and dangerous fairies.
 

Reading of this young boys childhood and the physical and emotional trek he is about to embark upon was incredibly heartwarming, taking me back to my own childhood.  I barely remember the moment when I realized that adulthood isn’t as magical and wonderful as childhood, but in reading this novel, I am reminded that there is still magic and wonder in our lives no matter our age. Through books like this, we have the ability to embark on a magical journey each time we open and turn the pages of a book.

Having read this book three times in the last two weeks, it is definitely one of those books that requires multiple reads for it is impossible to truly grasp it’s beauty and the sheer volume of the message portrayed in just one reading. This is a novel that will appeal to the likes of a wide range of readers, a book I plan on gifting to ever reader I know.  For this book is truly a gift, rewarding readers with a message that will resound forever within their heart and soul. Highly, highly, highly recommended.