Lay It on my Heart

Angela Pneuman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner, $14.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-15-101258-9
Pneuman uses potent prose in her intimate and intense debut novel about a most difficult month in the life of a 13-year-old girl in rural Kentucky. Charmaine Peake's grandfather was a famous evangelical, her father is a prophet, and the day-to-day life she leads with her parents is governed by religion. When her father suffers a mental break upon returning from a year in the Holy Land, the result is that Charmaine and her mother must move into a trailer by the river and rent out the family home to pay for his in-patient care. Meanwhile, Charmaine's physical maturation speeds up, and at her new school, she encounters others her age whose lives are not wholly dictated by their faith. Regular teenage angst is magnified by her attempts to live up to her father's ideals, and complicated by living in cramped quarters on a dime with a long-suffering mother. The author is very effective with her first-person narrative; readers will come to intimately inhabit Charmaine's point of view. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 07/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-547-54271-3
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