Faultlines by Barbara Taylor Sissel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
At 20, Jordy Cline's life should be just beginning. Instead, it seems as if he's looking at a long period in jail and a lifetime of guilt. It all begins when his mother, Sandy, receives the call every mother dreads: there's been a car accident. Jordy and his cousin, Travis, were thrown from the vehicle, and their passenger, Michelle, is in a coma. Both boys are seriously injured and even worse, it looks like they were drinking. Local law enforcement seems to think Jordy was drinking and driving--a natural assumption given his history of underage drinking and Travis' usual role as the designated driver--but Jordy is insistent that he wasn't. Suddenly, Sandy finds herself fighting for her son's survival and dealing with her sister Jenna's anger over Jordy's role in the crash. The crash also reveals more family and town secrets. Will things ever be the same? And was Jordy really responsible for the crash?
This is an intricate and crazily plotted book, filled with emotional characters and various plot twists. Some of the twists are exciting and completely unexpected, making the story more than just a family drama and almost making it a thriller at some points. A few twists toward the end struck me as rather transparent and easily guessed. A lot of the plot points are a little outlandish and far-fetched, but it does make the book a fairly quick and exciting read. It's not exactly fun, as the subject matter is pretty heavy and horrible, dealing with the sort of topics that are hard to read as a parent.
While none of the characters are fully fleshed out, I liked Sandy well-enough and found myself gravitating toward Jordy, even if I couldn't fully trust him. Jordy's nemesis, local police sergeant Huckabee, is easy to dislike, even as you're constantly guessing as to why exactly he harbors this hatred toward a near teen. The chapters alternate between Sandy and another character, Libby, and she's a sympathetic and enjoyable character as well.
Overall, the story is an intriguing one, which will keep you guessing and reading. It speaks well to the legacy parents leave, both from a biological and environmental standpoint. It represents the power of the good ol' boy system of the South as well and is a strong tale depicting the bonds of loyalty, small town politics, and the power and pain of family. It's both emotional and enjoyable. There were a few nagging plot points that bugged me, but it was still a good, quick read.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!); it is available for publication everywhere as of 09/06/2016.
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