This book is so phenomenal and heart wrenching and absolutely perfect. I found it utterly unputdownable and love Avery, Simone, Zora, Carole, and Mama Letty so much.
When Avery’s mom learns of her mom’s cancer diagnosis and that it’s probably the end for her, the Anderson family packs up and moves from DC to Bardell, Georgia. Avery wants to find a way to fix things between her mom and Mama Letty before her death, but that’s hard to do when grappling with a history of grief and trauma that stretches back decades, plus secrets that maybe are best left buried.
This is a story that grapples with healing from intergenerational trauma as well as cycles of abuse and the work of breaking out of them. It is a story of family and secrets, but also friendship and love. It is a hopeful story, even as so much of it is dealing with painful parts of history and grief. I loved the way there are chapters that give background and perspective, because this isn’t just Avery’s story but also a story of Mama Letty and Bardell’s dirty secrets.
This book was exactly the emotional, cathartic read I needed. I love that it ends with hope and love and moving forward, but not losing touch with personal history. And truly one of the best parts of this book is Renaissance, a community built on found family and acceptance – there are only a few scenes there, but it’s a place that truly sets the tone of hope and acceptance that feels central to this book. All in all, please read this if you like emotional contemporary stories that also deal with trauma and love and messy family.