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Must-read: Grace by T. Greenwood

Swapna Krishna is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer. She has been blogging about books at S. Krishna's Books since 2008. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband. Find her on Twitter at @skrishna and on her blog at www.s...


T. Greenwood has an uncanny ability to reach into her characters' souls, making them flawed but completely sympathetic. Her latest book Grace deals with a family on the verge of collapse. Their secrets and lies build upon one another until there is nothing left but dust. This searing portrait makes this novel an absolute must-read.

Trevor Kennedy is 13 years old and has no idea where he fits in the world. Teachers used to praise his sensitivity and diligence -- now they shake their heads at him, calling him a problem child. Only his art Graceteacher seems to care about understanding him anymore -- and gives him the amazing gift of a camera. Trevor increasingly hides from the world in the photographs he takes. He observes life around him, hoping that by refraining from participating, he won't cause any more trouble for himself or his family.

And indeed, the Kennedy family has its share of problems. Kurt is struggling to make ends meet with the family business -- not knowing how he's going to make his next mortgage payment and can't share his burden with the family. Meanwhile, Elisabeth feels like a failure of a mother. While she dotes on her daughter, Grace, she can't seem to summon any sort of maternal love for Trevor. What's more, unaware of her family's financial problems, Elisabeth increasingly turns to retail therapy to make her miserable life a little more pleasant.

Grace portrays a family on the brink of destruction. Trevor can no longer keep silent when boys come to bully him -- and fighting back only creates more problems. Through his photographs, he experiences a new world, but they may not be enough to exorcise the demons that plague the Kennedy family. As each family member sinks to new depths, they find themselves on a collision course with fate from which there may be no turning back.

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