by Andrew Gross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Andrew Gross can’t start his latest book, Everything to Lose (William Morrow 2014) any more depressingly than what’s he’s done: Hillary Blum, beleaguered single mom of an autistic child, loses her job. When she asks the boy’s father for help, he’s too busy taking his new family on vacation to pay attention to the desperation of a son he appears to consider ‘broken’ (I might be reading into that, though–I was pretty angry with Dad by then). Hillary tries everything she can come up with to save her small family. As I watched her analyze this dilemma, I couldn’t help but feel she did everything I would have. Without a doubt, I could feel her trauma, her need to protect her child, and her hopelessness. When a windfall falls into her lap, albeit a morally challenged and legally-dangerous one, she struggles with whether she should take it. She comes to the conclusion she didn’t want to make, that she has nothing to lose because she’s about to lose everything, so she takes it, hoping it will work out.
I suppose it does work out, but that’s the story–how it all works out.
I’ve read several of Gross’ other books–enjoyed them all–and I continue to be impressed by his strong, authentic voice and unerring ability to pace a story while building to an unbeatable climax. His main characters are believable, with both good and bad characteristics that make their flawed choices understandable as they try to solve their problems, ultimately, causing themselves as much trouble as they cure
It’s interesting to note that Hurricane Sandy is a recurring theme throughout the story. At first, I thought it would be simply a backdrop for the story, but Gross made it much more.
Overall, another excellent story from this author. It’s no wonder he was selected to co-author Eyes Wide Open with James Patterson.
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.