Abigail Knight, the protagonist of McDonald’s complex, emotionally intense first novel, is determined to get answers after her 17-year-old daughter, Olivia, who recently seemed unusually distracted and moody, is found, brain-dead and pregnant, at the bottom of an embankment below a bridge in her hometown of Portage Point, Wash. Meanwhile, Abi manages the grief of seeing Olivia being maintained on life support just long enough to allow her granddaughter to live. The chapters told from Olivia’s viewpoint in the months leading up to the accident, during which she struggles with friendships and romantic relationships while piecing together the truth about her absent father, convey the cadence and the awkward urgency of teenage thought and behavior without exaggerating it. Every carefully fleshed-out character behaves authentically, yielding a satisfying sense of tragedy rather than one of villainy. McDonald dives into the mother-daughter conflict without compromising the reader’s compassion for either of them. Fans of twisty domestic suspense novels will be rewarded. Agent: Carly Watters, P.S. Literary (Canada). (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2018 Release date: 08/01/2018 Genre: Fiction
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