Amanda McHenry is in a loveless marriage and clinging to memories of the last time she was happy: the summer of '85.

Back then, Amanda is fresh out of college, and her life is far from perfect. Her brother deals drugs, she worries constantly about her nephew's welfare and is in a dead-end job and relationship. Then she meets Gabe and life suddenly has color. She plunges joyfully into an intense love affair. When fate intervenes in one horrible instant, Amanda is forced to make a choice that binds her to her childhood sweetheart and tears her away from Gabe. Despite everything, she still waits and hopes for his return.

This is a beautiful and moving love story. All of the characters are vividly written, but Amanda and Gabe are especially well drawn. Grazer does an excellent job of showing the reader that these two vulnerable, sensitive characters are meant to be together. Her beautiful prose allows the reader to feel the passion and the pain that Gabe and Amanda feel as they fall in love, only to lose one another.

Everything about this novel works, from the L.A. setting, to the dialogue, to the ending. This is a book that stays with the reader long after the last page. (Aug., 269 pp., $13.00)
Reviewed by: 
Stephanie Schneider