Published by Penguin on 26 Jun 2014
Genres: family drama
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Powell's • Indiebound
It is painful when a member of your family dies, but when it is the beloved daughter that the family orbits around, it morphs into something else entirely.
Lydia is this golden child. Both her parents have projected their hopes for themselves on her. Her dad, growing up as a Chinese American in the 1950s, desperately wants to fit in and be popular. Or at the very least to not be stared at and whispered about. Her mom, who was on the fast track to become a doctor before she got pregnant, wants her to excel at science and take her place in the hospital. The constant attention on Lydia leaves both her older brother and younger sister un-noticed and forgotten on the sidelines.
When Lydia is found dead in the nearby lake, the family is forced to deal not only with her death but with all of the secrets they kept from each other over the years.
This book delves deep into family dynamics, showing us how the secrets developed originally and the blow-up and aftermath of those secrets. It also paints a vivid picture of the dynamics of race (and racisim) and a multi-racial family in the 70s.
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.
When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.