So excited to be guest speaker at the South End branch of the Boston Public Library on Tuesday, June 26 (685 Tremont Street) as part of the Friends of the South End library speaking series! We'll begin at 6:30. I'll be talking about I'LL STAY, life as a writer, the transition from middle grade writing to adult fiction and anything else that's on your mind!
For the last couple weeks, I've been attending women's book groups in the metro Boston area. These groups have read my new novel and asked me to visit to lead a discussion. What an amazing experience! I've found these women to be thoughtful, interested, interesting, questioning, opinionated and warm. More than once, I'd had the wish to join their group. They also serve wine!
My novel lends itself to these book groups with much to discuss. Choices made by the women. Assault. Intense female friendships. Mothers and daughters.
If you live in Boston metro, have a group and are interested in reading my novel and would like me to visit, I'd be more than happy. Just contact me and we'll set it up.
Karen Day. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1159-5
Children’s author (A Million Miles from Boston) Day’s excellent first foray into adult fiction chronicles three periods in the life of Clare Michaels, the aimless daughter of a famous writer. The first is her intense, college-years friendship with her best friend, Lee Sumner, which is irrevocably altered during a Daytona Beach trip when they are cornered by three men. Lee agrees she’ll willingly stay if they let Clare go. Lee is later saved, but she won’t discuss what happened to her, and as the years go by, Clare is haunted by the event. The second period covers the post-college years as Clare finishes her master’s degree and Lee, once confident, falls aimlessly in and out of jobs. The third period involves Clare’s mother, Eleanor, a self-involved writer. When confronted by a fan who claims that Eleanor stole her short story and turned it into Eleanor’s most famous book, Clare, who has mixed feelings about her mother, begins to wonder whether this is the reason why her mother remains mum about her novel’s origins. The novel is an intricate study of loyalty and guilt, providing full character arcs for both Clare and Lee, and it’s a page-turner from beginning to end. (Feb.)
Day, known for her insightful middle-grade novels, makes her adult debut with a laser-focused first-person tale of friendship, mothers and daughters, and the devastation secrets bring. In 1983, Clare and her best friend, Lee, are on spring break when faced with a decision that sets them on a path of heartbreak. Although everyone sees Clare as the reliable caretaker, it is Lee who sacrifices herself to save Clare. Haunted by guilt, Clare drifts through the next eight years struggling with her directionless life, avoiding both Lee and any sort of true emotional attachment. Seen through her possibly unreliable narrator lens, none of the characters is particularly likable, especially Clare's distant mother, Eleanor. Well known and praised for her award-winning book about the Vietnam War, Eleanor looms hugely in the background as the rock at which Clare continues to throw herself, taking up more than her fair share of Clare's life. VERDICT Clare's inability to understand her own motivations make this layered look at imperfect characters a book club-ready page-turner, as readers will have plenty to discuss, whether they use the included questions or come up with their own.—Charli Osborne, Oak Park P. L., MI
I'm happy to announce that I will be launching I'LL STAY at Newtonville Books, Newton, MA., on Thursday, February 8 at 7pm. All are welcome!
Newtonville Books holds a special place in my heart. It was where I launched my middle grade novels. And it's my hometown bookstore. Thanks to Mary and Jaime for providing such a warm, wonderful place to introduce my novel to the world!