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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
“Daddy was in a bad mood…He was predictable. Just like my life so far.”
But Gracie’s life was far from predictable. Growing up in the cotton fields of Arkansas, Gracie saw her life as one of heinous misfortune. The victim of the meanest girl at Savage Crossing Elementary School and the daughter of a controlling, mean, alcoholic father, Gracie did her best to keep quiet when life’s injustices fell into her lap. But there were times when it was all just too much. It was during those times when Gracie’s adventurous spirit led her to explore the mysteries of the abandoned grey house down the road or to eavesdrop on her mother’s party-line phone calls. This was how she discovered the seriousness of her father’s medical problems and fueled her Nancy Drew tendencies. Her only outlet was the invitational time at church when she held her weekly “talk” with Brother Brown.
The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee is one of the best books I have read in a long, long while. Integrating themes of substance abuse, lessons in morality, and timeless fears of coming of age, author Talya Tate Boerner has excelled in the brilliance of bringing characters to life in her debut novel. The storytelling rarity of multiple story lines is effortlessly successful in this vividly told tale. Boerner utilizes all of the senses to weave a story filled with human emotion so palpable that the reader is forced to step away from the pages in order to digest the full impact of her words. I enthusiastically applaud this story and the future of this author.