The bestselling author's novel of family, fate, DNA and destiny that explores whether real happiness is a gift or a choice.
In her tightly constructed and captivating first adult novel, bestselling YA author Shepard (the Pretty Little Liars series) explores a family's biological and emotional interconnectedness-for better or for worse. When 15-year-old Summer Davis is told by a substitute biology teacher that "DNA makes up everything inside you," and that "nothing else matters... you can't escape your parents and they can't escape you," the silken threads that she imagines link her to her vanished mother become something more like shackles and chains as her mentally ill father's slow decay continues and eventually lands him in an institution. Summer clings to the hope that her father will get better while simultaneously experimenting with ways to escape the gloomy life she's inherited; her path eventually leads to the genetics lab at NYU, but the opportunity to pursue her own dreams is undermined by her father, whose deeply hidden secrets begin to trickle out and eat away at the family's foundation. It's complicated, rewarding and full of heart, and Shepard creates a rich reading experience in shying from simple answers and happy endings. (May)
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May 04, 2009
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