Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Place for Us - Liza Gyllenhaal

Brook Bostock has led a privileged life. The daughter of an extremely wealthy and prominent family, she married the man of her dreams and is raising two deeply loved children. But her happy home is shattered when a neighborhood teenager is assaulted during a night of drinking with the Bostocks' son and his prep school friends. 
The scandal receives national attention—not only because of Brook’s family name, but because of the lawsuit looming against Brook and her husband, Michael, that alleges they are responsible for what went on in their house. Suddenly the small Massachusetts town they call home seems to be turning against them, revealing the simmering jealousies and resentments that have been lurking under the surface all along. 
With their once-perfect family in danger of falling apart, Brook and Michael must find a way to get through this together—or risk losing everything they love…
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: A Place for Us
Author: Liza Gyllenhaal
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Finished copy
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Penguin Group USA for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Look for it: Amazon, Chapters
My rating: 4/5

Brook has always loved her husband and children, and absolutely loves living in her husband's hometown, away from the influence of her own family with their high society last name. She has tried to distance herself from the acclaim that comes with being a Pendleton, and has done a good job of it. One night though, is all it takes for disaster to strike. Her family is now thrust into the midst of a scandal as a teenager was assaulted in her home while she and her husband were not there. An impending lawsuit threatens to shatter Brook's once perfect family. Will Brook's family survive this trial, or will they lose everything? 
This book tackles many hard-hitting issues. Underage drinking, and assault first and foremost. Many emotions roll through the reader as they come to terms with what is happening. Outrage, anger, frustration, sympathy, and sorrow. We see the situation unfold through several different eyes. Phoebe and Liam have a history that unfolds through different flashback scenes throughout the book. We see the boy Phoebe has fallen in love with, and we see what he actually thinks of himself. Gyllenhaal writes broken characters that just resonate with the reader. I couldn't help but feel sad and frustrated with them for what they did, and what they did not do.
Another topic that comes under investigation is whether or not the onus is on the parents if they are not there to supervise. Maybe things wouldn't have escalated had they been there. Should they be held responsible for what happened in their home? 
Gyllenhaal tackles these topics and more as she weaves a complex and heartrending tale. A Place for Us is a thought provoking read, one that captures interest and will not let go until the end. Will Phoebe have justice? It is not just these characters who are dealing with their emotions and the consequences of their actions. We see Brook and her husband Michael deal with their respective pasts and see how it affects them now, and how it affects their perceptions now that they are in this situation. Would or could they have done anything differently? 
All in all, this is a harrowing read hitting on some dark topics. Gyllenhaal deftly weaves a story that will resonate with readers. Fans of Jodi Picoult's should enjoy A Place for Us