Terri Giuliano, a lecturer at Boston College, comes up with her debut fiction novel called In Leah's Wake, which has in fact been deemed as the Winner of the CTRR and BookBundlz Book Pick. Bearing the colors of the life of any parent who is raising a teenage child, the story revolves around the life of the Tyler family, a family of four, where the parents seem to face difficulties raising their 16-year old daughter Leah who seems to be deviating from a desirably "ideal" path. As they become easy victims of changes, they tend to develop negligence towards their younger daughter Justine, which leaves the whole family in a confounding state of momentary but indefinite communication breakdown.
Leah Tyler is living the life of a teenage child that would supposedly be considered as desirable or rather optimal, by most of the parents within the society. Beautiful and a sincere student who deserves a scholarship to Harvard, Leah is also an accomplished soccer player, considered as the best in her team. Her father, Will, anticipates the moment when Leah would lead her team to the state championship. Having forfeited an athletic scholarship himself during his college years, he is increasingly concerned about his daughter committing the same blunder. Leah's sister Justine, an eighth-grader, also maintains a remarkable academic record, while her mother works as a counselor who also participates in motivational workshops. Everyone is living their lives contentedly, stretching its quality to the optimum, or rather that is what they assume until Leah turns a "rebel" and expresses her desire for more, conveniently drifting away from the path that her parents consider as unblemished.
Confusion becomes the family's epitaph for the extended moment of adaptation to changes; Will shows the symptoms of the responsible-father-of-a-teenager-gone-berserk syndrome, Zoe, the mother, surrenders to irresolution, while Justine, who sees her sister as an icon, seems to succumb to the counterfeit forces of negligence. Will they realize the existence of an otherside? Will they successfully confront the fragile shadows of life?
In Leah's Wake is another family drama involving the release of overwhelming pseudo-emotions and misdirected noises, teaching lessons on the dangers of invulnerability and resistance towards changes, just like the majority whose minds are functioning independently. The consequences of differences in opinions dealt with urges make the intense parts of the story, which rather seems a little typical. Leah going out with an older boy with a past criminal record which infuriates her father, seems like a twist that is meant for Hollywood; perhaps the author aims for a PG rated teen movie based on her story.
Needless to say, the story resembles the common parent tales that have been used innumerable times in the course of Hollywood and story-writing; it somehow seems to be clinging onto its productivity. Although the debut novel does seem to have appealed to a number of readers, this is one commonplace piece of work that delivers an average reading experience.