Bud, who suffers from excruciating nightmares, soon discovers that his own past has been concealed from him. He learns that his grandmother offered to take care of him after his Russian mother immigrated to the United States with Bud in tow–and their past as prisoners of German soldiers hints at sexual abuse when he was very young. Haunted by this knowledge, and fearful of how it relates to his romantic struggles, Bud tries to balance his growing disillusionment with his family’s façade and his desire to break the mold and chase his own dreams. In the process, he loses loved ones–but his own hope for a better future and his friendship with Glory strengthen his resolve.
Readers will find Terrill’s characters multidimensional and relatable, although some fit too easily into traditional stereotypes. Bud is the standout—his inner turmoil and search for meaning will resonate with readers of thoughtful, family-oriented adult fiction–and the story’s ending, while satisfying, leaves promising threads to be explored in a follow-up. Terrill does an admirable job of blending family drama, serious social issues, and the development of a mind and heart. The end result is a moving endorsement of equality and empowerment.
Takeaway: An affluent young man chases his dreams against the backdrop of 1960s racism in this epic family drama.
Great for fans of: Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything, Malcolm Hansen’s They Come in All Colors.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A