The Secrets of Lake Road

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250066817. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466874701. F
OrangeReviewStarEvery summer Jo takes her children, teenager Johnny and 12-year-old Caroline, to stay with her mother at the lake house in the Pocono Mountains. Typically she drops them off and leaves, but this summer, she stays to help her mother clean out the closets in the cabin. When newcomer seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing, the events that follow take Jo down a path to her past, dredging up secrets that were well buried. Meanwhile, Caroline begins to question all that she thought was true about her family, particularly her mother. Katchur seamlessly tells the story from Jo's and Caroline's points of view, merging past and present in the same chapter, building the suspense as she goes. While Sara's disappearance is key to how the story unfolds, it is less about finding her than it is about discovering oneself and letting go through the shedding of secrets and the (re)building of relationships. The author gracefully captures both motherhood and adolescence in the voices of Jo and Caroline, creating great crossover appeal for older teens.
VERDICT This beautiful, heartbreaking, and affecting debut, reminiscent of the work of Heather Gudenkauf, will have readers craving more from Katchur.

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