Friday, June 15, 2012

GRACE by T. Greenwood

Thirteen year old Trevor, his little sister Grace, and his parents Kurt and Elsbeth make up one side of this intricate story.  On the other side is Crystal whose life took an unexpected turn when she became pregnant at  seventeen.

GRACE is written in a style that reminds me of books by Jodi Piccoult.  Author T. Greenwood takes her readers deeply into the lives and minds of her characters as she gradually reveals their personal issues and their often complicated connections.

Trevor is suffering at the hands of two bullies, and at the same time finding his voice through photography.  Not able to talk about the daily torment he suffers, he escapes through the lens of an old film camera his elderly art teacher provides.  His deep love for his young sister also keeps him focused when all he wants to do is explode.

Kurt and Elsbeth are childhood sweethearts whose relationship has become stale over time as their focus has turned to economic survival.  Kurt works two jobs and any free time is spent looking out for his father whose hoarding issues have attracted the attention of the authorities.  Elsbeth works part time as a hairdresser and frantically attempts to hid a shoplifting habit that threatens to spiral out of control.  She dotes on Grace and worries constantly about Trevor.

Expectations for Crystal are high.  When her unexpected pregnancy threatens to derail her parents plans for her to attend college, her mother steps in and arranges to have an adoptive couple whisk Crystal's baby away immediately after the birth.  As time passes, Crystal regrets her decision and begrudges her parents' controlling ways.  The emotional impact of giving birth and giving up her child may have set her on a path toward destruction.

I was able to read GRACE thanks to my generous neighbor who passed it on after winning it in a Goodreads giveaway.  She suggested it might qualify as YA for older teen readers, and I agree.  I know of several high school readers I will be suggesting it to this fall.

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