Monday, May 03, 2010

A SOFT PLACE TO LAND by Susan Rebecca White

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Naomi and Phil Harrison die in a terrible plane crash while vacationing leaving behind two teenaged daugthers, Ruthie and Julia.  Once the will is read, the half-sisters realize they will be separated with one moving to San Francisco and one to a town in Virginia. The girls try to navigate their ways through the loss of their parents and each other while trying to define themselves as individuals. Resentment and anger threaten to tear them apart until a momentous event changes everything.

This book about the complicated love between two sisters as they deal with their shared gried had all the makings of a great story. But it wasn't.  There was just something missing. The story is told from Ruthie's perspective and I think this was a problem because the reader never really gets to understand Julia's side of the story. I thought White did an excellent job describing the complexities of teenage life. Especially in the face of grief. But as the girls entered adulthood, the story seemed to fall apart.  I didn't particularly care for any of the characters and the ending felt rushed and unfinished. The author introduced a really interesting plot development surrounding the girls' mother at the end of the book but then dropped it for something much less interesting and much more contrived. A real disappointment.

BOTTOM LINE: Not recommended.  A lot of unfulfilled potential here. This subject matter has been covered much more effectively by other authors.

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