Night Swim by Jessica Keener
Genre: YA, Young Adult
Pages: 284 (paperback)
Source: TLC Booktours
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Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kunitz lives in a posh, suburban world of 1970 Boston. From the outside, her parents’ lifestyle appears enviable – a world defined by cocktail parties, expensive cars, and live-in maids to care for their children – but inside their five-bedroom house, all is not well for the Kunitz family. Coming home from school, Sarah finds her well-dressed, pill-popping mother lying disheveled on their living room couch. At night, to escape their parents’ arguments, Sarah and her oldest brother, Peter, find solace in music, while her two younger brothers retreat to their rooms and imaginary lives. Any vestige of decorum and stability drains away when their mother dies in a car crash one terrible winter day. Soon after, their father, a self-absorbed, bombastic professor begins an affair with a younger colleague. Sarah, aggrieved, dives into two summer romances that lead to unforeseen consequences. In a story that will make you laugh and cry, Night Swim shows how a family, bound by heartache, learns to love again
Tragedy strikes and like many of teenagers, Sarah doesn't know how to cope. Unfortunately there is little help to guide her way.
Oh a tangled web Ms. Keener weaves. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, but I find it quite difficult to write the review. It's one of those stories where you try to describe it but in the end you say, "Well you just had to be there." I can't write a description or synopsis of this book to fully describe this book because the beauty is in the writing and how Ms. Keener unveils each part of the story. She takes an ordinary, and perhaps sad, story and weaves it into a song that you can't quite get out of your head. The story sounds quite simple but it is so much more than that. The writing is fabulous, making the reader turn each page with eagerness and trepidation at the same time. The characters are flawed and human. I wanted to shake each and every one of them but thought they needed a few hugs as well. While I wouldn't call this book, plot driven, I did find myself tearing through the pages.
Ms. Keener creates a complex story that deals with loss, racism, sex, and consequences. Yet, hope and healing seems to be the true theme. While the story is touching, it is the writing that sets it apart from all the rest.
This book satisfies the 2012 Multicultural Book Challenge