Realistic in its emotional depth, this novel explores how death impacts the lives of those left behind, and how they then try to put the pieces of their shattered lives back together. As the somewhat sheltered Newton family learns how to live their lives without Arch, they realize that he has given them a gift in Marcus, whose own ability to overcome his hardships is a lesson to anyone reading this splendidly crafted novel.

Beth Newton's house on Nantucket has always been her haven, but a sadness follows her as she drives from Manhattan with her 17-year-old twins, Garrett and Winnie, and Marcus Tyler, an African-American teen from Queens. Not three months have passed since the plane crash that killed Beth's husband, Arch, the defense counsel for Marcus' mother, who was accused of murder. To Beth's credit, she honors her husband's promise to Marcus that he spend the summer with the Newtons.

The summer is resplendent with emotional somersaults, as Winnie and Marcus find a mutual attraction, and Garrett romances Piper Ronan, the daughter of Beth's former teenage lover David.

While the teenagers embark on their summer flings, Beth must come to terms with the secrets of her past, as the recently separated David begins pursuing her once again.

(Jun., 352 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick