A recently widowed mother of two, Sylvie Bates-McAllister finds her life upended by a late-night phone call from the headmaster of the prestigious private school founded by her grandfather where her adopted son Scott teaches. Allegations of Scott's involvement in a hazing scandal cause a ripple effect, throwing the entire family into chaos.Read more...
Customers Also Bought
A recently widowed mother of two, Sylvie Bates-McAllister finds her life upended by a late-night phone call from the headmaster of the prestigious private school founded by her grandfather where her adopted son Scott teaches. Allegations of Scott's involvement in a hazing scandal cause a ripple effect, throwing the entire family into chaos. For Charles, Sylvie's biological son, it dredges up a ghost from the past who is suddenly painfully present. For his wife Joanna, it forces her to reevaluate everything she's hoped for in the golden Bates-McAllisters. And for Scott, it illuminates harsh truths about a world he has never truly felt himself a part of.
But for all the Bates-McAllisters, the call exposes a tangled web of secrets that ties the family together: the mystery of the school hazing, the event that tore Charles and Scott apart the night of their high school awards ceremony, and the intended recipient of a certain bracelet. The quest to unravel the truth takes the family on individual journeys across state lines, into hospitals, through the Pennsylvania woods, and face-to-face with the long-dormant question: what if the life you always planned for and dreamed of isn't what you want after all?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-08-29
- Reviewer: Staff
YA author Shepard (Pretty Little Liars) aims for adult readers with this expertly rendered novel of family dysfunction set in moneyed Main Line Philadelphia. Recently widowed Sylvie Bates-McAllister runs the board of directors at Swithin School, a prestigious prep school founded by her grandfather. When Sylvie learns that her adopted adult son, Scott, may be responsible for the hazing death of a student he coached on the school’s wrestling team, she fears the worst and worries about how the scandal will affect her family name. Sylvie’s biological son, Charles—estranged from his brother since an ugly incident on the night of their high school graduation—is more concerned with his marital troubles than the hazing scandal. Now living in the suburbs, Charles frets over wife Joanna’s growing restlessness. Joanna, meanwhile, feels excluded from the neighborhood clique and Charles’s relationship with his mother, as well as disappointed by her marriage into this supposedly perfect upper-class family. As Shepard moves through time and shifts between the perspectives of her main characters, the inner lives of the Bates-McAllisters resonate more than the actual plot. Readers will respond as this family grapples with their many long-held secrets. (Oct.)