Grace

By T. Greenwood
(Kensington Publishing Corporation, Paperback, 9780758250926, 416pp.)

Publication Date: March 27, 2012

List Price: $15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2012 Indie Next List
“I dare you to read the first chapter of this book and then try to set it aside. It's impossible not to devour the mystery of why Kurt aims his rifle at the back of his only son's head. As their story unfolds you will understand and sympathize with each character. Grace is a thriller, a heartbreaking account of bullying, and a beautiful story about an imperfect family and the love that must save them all.”
-- Cathy Allard, BayShore Books LLC, Oconto, WI


Description
T. Greenwood's extraordinary novels, deftly combining lyrical prose with heartrending subject matter, have earned her acclaim as a "family-damage specialist" (Kirkus). Now she explores one year in a family poised to implode, and the imperfect love that may be its only salvation.
Every family photograph hides a story. Some are suffused with warmth and joy, others reflect the dull ache of disappointed dreams. For thirteen-year-old Trevor Kennedy, taking photos helps make sense of his fractured world. His father, Kurt, struggles to keep a business going while also caring for Trevor's aging grandfather, whose hoarding has reached dangerous levels. Trevor's mother, Elsbeth, all but ignores her son while doting on his five-year-old sister, Gracy, and pilfering useless drugstore items.
Trevor knows he can count on little Gracy's unconditional love and his art teacher's encouragement. None of that compensates for the bullying he has endured at school for as long as he can remember. But where Trevor once silently tolerated the jabs and name-calling, now anger surges through him in ways he's powerless to control.
Only Crystal, a store clerk dealing with her own loss, sees the deep fissures in the Kennedy family--in the haunting photographs Trevor brings to be developed, and in the palpable distance between Elsbeth and her son. And as their lives become more intertwined, each will be pushed to the breaking point, with shattering, unforeseeable consequences.



About the Author
Greenwood was born in Vermont. She teaches at George Washington University in Washingington, D.C. and The Writer's Guild in Bethesda, Maryland. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the D.C. area.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. When Crystal first goes to the Kennedys’ house, she observes: “What you see on the outside rarely reflects what’s really on the inside. She, of all people, understood that appearances can be deceiving.” Discuss the idea of perception in this novel. Compare Crystal’s assumptions of the Kennedy family through the photos and her interactions with Elsbeth and Gracy with each of the characters’ own narratives. Do you think her view of them is accurate at all? Talk about Elsbeth’s and Kurt’s opposite reactions to Trevor’s pictures of Gracy. Further, consider how your life might look to an outsider and how accurate that perception is or how it differs from the truth.

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