From Publishers Weekly
In her fourth outing, novelist O'Dell returns to Pennsylvania coal country for more dysfunctional family drama. When teenage brothers Klint and Kyle, having already been abandoned by their mother, are left orphaned by the death of their father, they're unexpectedly taken in by an elderly, filthy rich recluse named Candace Jack, known for her family's mining company, J&P Coal. Taking in the two working-class kids, Candace is reminded of her own emotional wounds (a heart long-broken by the violent death of her bullfighter fiancé), and the damaged trio grope their way toward healing amid heated cultural and generational clashes. Under Candace's roof, likable and inquisitive Kyle begins to develop artistic skills, while sullen baseball prodigy Klint immerses himself even further in sports. When Kyle and Klint's cold-hearted mom appears, looking to get at Candace's money, a series of near-tragic events and terrible revelations ensue. O'Dell can overdo the sentiment, but she's a pro at capturing dialogue, and some characters' wisecracks are laugh-out-loud funny. Though predictable, this gritty novel is a memorable read. (Mar.)
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Their father was a notorious drunk; their mother, a self-absorbed shrew who callously abandoned them for life with another man. After their father is killed in a senseless accident, teenage brothers Klint and Kyle Hayes face being returned to their mother’s custody against their will. For Klint, the move to Arizona would mean sacrificing his attention-getting baseball career at the height of the college and pro-scouting season. For sensitive and artistic Kyle, holding onto the only home he has ever known is essential to making sure his brother achieves the success necessary to free them both from the oppression of their small, western Pennsylvania mining town. Salvation comes in the unlikely form of Candace Jack, a wealthy and reclusive elderly woman who is persuaded to give the boys a home, and herself a second chance to feel love again. In this tough and tender tale, O’Dell’s triumphant portrait of loss and rejection, sanctuary and redemption, shines with poignancy, dignity, and transcendent joy. --Carol Haggas