Tuesday, August 6, 2013

THE APRIL TREE by Judith Arnold

Reach out, hold tight, stand up, move forward.
Learning that life goes on is the hardest lesson of all.
One life destroyed. Four others irrevocably shattered. Overcoming the shock and grief of death is an all-too-familiar rite of young adulthood.

Walking home from a tennis game on a bright spring day, April Walden’s three closest friends watch in horror as she is struck by a car and killed. The senseless accident plunges all three young women—and the car’s driver—into a devastating and often misguided search for comfort, purpose, and inspiration.

Becky wraps herself in a protective cloak of obsessions, performing anxious rituals at the base of the red maple tree under which April died. Elyse dives into a high-risk party life, trying to honor April by experiencing everything April missed but mistaking self-destructive indulgence for courage. Florie turns to fundamentalist Christianity, not as spiritual guidance, but as a wall that might shield her from reality. Mark, the driver, spirals downward into substance abuse and self-loathing, until April's three friends reach out to save him.

How do you make it through the night when you've stopped believing that tomorrow always comes?

My thoughts...

How devastating to see your best friend hit by a car and die. Moments ago the four friends were laughing and having fun. Now paramedics are working over April, two are hopeful but Becky knows she's gone, she died right there under the red maple tree.

The effect of this tragic accident changes the lives of the girls and the boy that was driving, suddenly they're in a downward spiral. Though an accident, Mark can't stop blaming himself and turns to drugs and alcohol. Becky blames her mother, she was supposed to pick them up after the tennis game but forgot...again. Elyse goes into a self destructive life of partying. Florie looks for something to shield her from the pain and finds a false religion.

A terribly sad story of teens dealing with the aftermath of this horror. Well written, real characters though I think the story could've been told without the excessive bad language.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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