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163 of 190 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the 99 cents!
I downloaded this book for my kindle mainly because the price was so cheap, and Im glad that I did! I finished the book in about 4 days. once I picked it up, I couldnt put it down! Terri does an awesome job using foreshadowing in all the right places.. and writes an ending that you will never ee coming! I highly recommend this to anyone, but I advise any strict parent to...
Published on December 26, 2010

versus
69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall a decent story
***I received a complimentary copy in exchange for a review.

I enjoyed this story for the most part. Leah went through a series of bad decisions that put her in a spot her pride couldn't back track on. The characters were well developed and it was easy to understand the things they did for the family.

I only gave it 3 stars because I felt like at...
Published on September 5, 2011 by Read for Fun


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163 of 190 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the 99 cents!, December 26, 2010
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this book for my kindle mainly because the price was so cheap, and Im glad that I did! I finished the book in about 4 days. once I picked it up, I couldnt put it down! Terri does an awesome job using foreshadowing in all the right places.. and writes an ending that you will never ee coming! I highly recommend this to anyone, but I advise any strict parent to consider purchasing this as a gift for anyone under the age of about 16, as there is qite a bit of suggestive material throughout. But over all, this is a FANTASTIC book!
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall a decent story, September 5, 2011
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
***I received a complimentary copy in exchange for a review.

I enjoyed this story for the most part. Leah went through a series of bad decisions that put her in a spot her pride couldn't back track on. The characters were well developed and it was easy to understand the things they did for the family.

I only gave it 3 stars because I felt like at times the story wandered away from the main plot and some of the story lines were too long and unnecessary. Overall, though, I enjoyed it.
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73 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, May 23, 2011
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
It's hard to believe this book was the author's debut novel. The characters and storyline kept you riveted to the book and you didn't want to put it down. Very true to life story that anyone who is raising or raised teenagers could definitely relate to and see themselves, as parents, in almost the same type of situations. I enjoyed reading about the family dynamics and how each individual's actions affect everyone in the family. Very good read! Great job Terri!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Summer Read!, June 5, 2011
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
Holding my daughters for the first time, watching them absorb the world around them, smelling their sweet breath, I pictured a fairytale future. My vision of them held details of first steps, first boyfriends, college, marriage and eventually grandchildren. A lifetime of accomplishments mixed in with minor disappointments, disappointments that would only strengthen them to be the amazing women I know they will be. I pictured sharing this joy with my best friend and partner, my husband.

I didn't picture rampant sexual teens, drugs, drop-out coke dealing boyfriends, drunken parties or searching relentlessly for my runaway daughter. Thoughts of them failing school, insulting their team mates by quitting, or squandering a chance at college scholarships never crossed my mind. It was an impossible possibility that my older daughter could influence her younger sister to follow down a dark, dangerous road with her, causing a 12-year-old mental breakdown. My marriage could never be stripped down by the stress of raising an emotionally drowning teenager, worn thread bare, exposing gaping holes where adultery could seep in and communication lost. That could never happen to my family. Could it?

That's what Zoe and Will Tyler must have thought too, as they watched their two beautiful daughters, 12-year-old Justine and 16-year-old Leah, grow up in Terri Giuliano Long's debut novel In Leah's Wake.

"They had no idea, he and Zoe, how easy they'd had it when the girls were young."

In Leah's Wake is a dramatic contemporary novel about the average suburban family. Will and Zoe Tyler are both hard working parents trying to provide the perfect life for their children: a nice house, good schools, sports and academic enrichment. Leah is a soccer star, groomed for a future in collegiate sports, captain of her team and a positive role model for her younger sister. Justine's strengths are in academics, a compassionate heart, a desire to please her family and an unquestionable faith. The Tyler family seemed to have it all, a life of promise and privilege, and a life, not too unlike my own. Until suddenly, they find themselves drowning in the wake of Leah's tumultuous teenage transformation.

Early in the novel, Terri pulled at my heartstrings so much, the story became personal. My identity started to intertwine with Zoe Tyler. Her voice echoed in my head, the same as so many other moms.

"...Zoe vowed. From now on, if one of her children needed her, she planned to be available. She would rearrange her patient schedule so she was free to pick up Leah after practice, would attend every game. She would set aside at least four hours of individual, quality time, per week, for each of the girls. She would pack their lunches. Bake cookies. Sew Halloween outfits. She'd be the perfect mother. Better than perfect, she thought..."

It's clear that Terri is a parent, and not surprising to know that she is raising four daughters. Her concrete descriptions and detailed passages engaged all my senses, creating a sense of inclusion, as if I were a part of the Tyler family. She has an extraordinary ability to allow the reader to see the action unfolding from all of the characters' viewpoints, reminding the reader that reality and truth are influenced greatly by each person's perspective and personal experiences.

We start to see a crack in Leah's vision, the beginning of her unraveling, when she has to engage in a classroom conversation about their futures.

"When her turn came, Leah mumbled her answer. A professional soccer player, she said, the choice they all expected to hear... Lately, she'd begun to wonder if playing pro soccer was something she really wanted to do. The adults in her life all pushed her in that direction, told her she'd be a fool not to play; maybe she'd simply adopted their dream."

How many times, as parents, do we push our children to do something because they show a natural talent? Thousands of times I have thought, "They'll thank me later".

Leah's restless spirit finds solace in a 19-year-old high school dropout, Todd. His carefree lifestyle and independence are intoxicating, lulling Leah into a false sense of adulthood. Like most teenagers, Leah thinks she is old enough to handle life on her own, without the support of her loving family. What starts out as normal teenage rebellion, breaking curfew, secrecy, and talking back soon turns into a full-blown revolt as Leah's parents try to regain control. But they are no match to a life of parties, drugs and music.

Justine is caught between wanting to please her parents, and wanting her sister's approval. She begins to slip away into the dark waters her big sister treads, hoping to maintain their relationship. Justine is also the peace-maker of the family, and when she can't help her parents reconcile with her sister, not only is her heart broken but her faith in family, friends and religion is shattered. She begins to take on a more maternal role, taking care of her mother after a debilitating accident and battle with depression.

Ironically Zoe is a family counselor and leadership coach but is unable to utilize her well trained, professional skills to recognize the red flags her daughter Leah was flailing. As her perfect life starts to dissipate, revealing instability, she retreats into herself, extends too much grace and not enough discipline for fear of losing her friendship with her daughter.

Perhaps Will could have been more present if he wasn't trying to dig himself out of his own drama. Life throws us many unexpected trials, and for Will a demanding work schedule and marital discontentment blinded him from what his family really needed until it was too late. He also got caught up in his parental dreams, picturing his daughter playing soccer at a collegiate level, forgetting to make sure that was what his daughter wanted too.

Although In Leah's Wake is a sad story of family experiencing traumatic growing pains, Terri does a fantastic job leaving the reader with some hope in the end. This book made me take a look at my own children, marriage and priorities. It reminded me how precious each day is and that we can't take anything for granted. Terri also gave me some insight on how the teenage brain works, letting me hear Leah's thoughts and inner voice, hopefully giving me a small clue to what goes on behind those frustrated eyes of my own teenage daughter, tossing me a life preserver for my own future wake.

Will is reminded of some advice his mother gave him when his children were younger.

"Your children will bring you the greatest joy in your life...They will also break your heart. You've got to take the good with the bad."
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great page-turner, February 10, 2011
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
Wow, this book really kept me from sleeping! Once started I had to know the end!
A big compliment to the author! I guess it must be a gift to be able to `create' a book of this caliber.
Being a parent myself with, I guess I may compare myself with Zoe and Will. Do they make mistakes!! Page after page it became more obvious they don't leave Leah a chance but to run away! The grenade in her was planted long ago, it just needed a Todd or Hope to pull the pin out! How good of the author to show that even a mother whose profession it is to train other parents how to get on the right track, can make such mistakes in her private live. The frustration (especially from Will) of not living the live they wanted, is mirrored onto the kids.
I can fully recommend this book, and I hope Terri Giuliano-Long is inspired to write another book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Leah's Wake - lovely, moving, well-written, October 2, 2011
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This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
A wonderful job of plotting and characterization in this debut novel. Poignant, thoughtful, well-written - lots to relate to here and much to think about as the story unfolds. Ms. Long has a wonderful career ahead of her, and I look forward to her next book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Subject Matter but Delivered Well, January 16, 2012
By 
Staaj (Ballwin, MO, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
I took a step out of my comfort zone when I decided to read In Leah's Wake. My comfort zone is normally filled with fiction that takes me far away from real life issues. In Leah's Wake is the exact opposite of what I normally read in that it features very real life problems. When Leah Tyler trades in her straight A student, star athlete lifestyle for one of rebellion, her family and even her whole town feels the weight of her shift in behavior.

Told from the alternating perspectives of the member of Tyler family and a local police officer, the reader experiences the all sides of the story. Leah's descent into disorder begins when she meets Todd, a high school drop out and drug dealer. She falls hard for Todd and soon she begins cutting class and skipping soccer practice to be with him. He introduces her to drugs, sex, crime, and in many ways turns her against her parents. When her parents finally catch on to her behavior, they over react to point where they end up driving Leah deeper into the arms of Todd and further away from a healthy lifestyle.

When Leah's father, Will, learns of her behavior and her lousy boyfriend, he looses his temper merely upon the mention of her boyfriends name. He see Todd as the sole reason why his daughter has changed so drastically from the little girl he once knew. Although Todd has a key role in Leah's behavior, her father also pushed her too hard to be perfect. He also refuses to curb his temper when around his daughter and so the fighting becomes inevitable.

Zoe, Leah's mother, is a stark contrast to her husband behavior. In fact, she barely reacts to Leah's behavior. As a self help speaker, one would think Zoe would be an expert in correcting her daughter's misbehavior, but instead she chooses to ignore and escape. Her worst moment is when Leah actually comes to her for help and she tells her daughter she is too busy with her self help business.

Justine, Leah's younger sister, is the one stuck in the middle of all the chaos. She is a straight A student, responsible, hard working, and overall good girl. At first she is confused and disappointed by her sisters behavior, but as the family fighting goes on Justine begins to understand Leah's behavior and turns against her parents.

Author Terri Guiliano Long expertly develops her characters and paints a picture so real that you can't help but feel the effects of the characters decisions. There are many points in the book where you see things starting to go wrong and you want to scream at the characters to save them from their horrible decision. Long's character develop is so solid that despite of all the characters bad decisions, you truly understand their reasoning. You know why Leah's mom chooses to escape, you understand why Leah lashes out, and you feel Will's frustration as he sees his daughter drive off with Todd.

In Leah's Wake is a well written journey into a family's soul. There were times where I wished the author would take a break from problems and interject some scenes with joy. Rather the scenes with any ounce of joy were quickly quelled and the Tyler family storm would strike back at full force. For most of the book, there is a feeling of a constant downward spiral only to hit bottom at the end. It takes a lot for me to pick up a book when I know I will encounter turmoil upon reading its pages and I had to really push myself to keep reading. A few times, I wanted to throw the book across the room I was so made at the characters (that was until I realized I was reading it on my Kindle).

Long's writing no doubt stirred up emotions within me and I have a feeling that was her precise intent. I gave the book three stars mainly because I don't like being dragged through book that consists almost entirely of sad and painful to watch scenes. I have nothing but praise for the Long's writing but the story she created it wasn't one that I was particularly enjoyed reading. There was very little light in this dark story. I recommend this book to readers of women's fiction and to those who can weather heavy subject matter.

Thank you to Terri Giuliano Long for providing a copy of her book to review in exchange for an honest review.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 out of 10 stars, September 2, 2011
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Paperback)
In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long
Release Date: October 1st, 2010
Publisher: CreateSpace
Page Count: 345
Source: From author, via Novel Publicity, for review

Protecting their children comes naturally for Zoe and Will Tyler -- until their daughter, Leah, decides to actively destroy her own future.

Leah grew up in a privileged upper-middle class world. Her parents spared no exprese for her happiness; she had all but secured an Ivy League scholarship and a future as a star athlete. Then she met Todd.

Leah's parents watch helplessly as their daughter falls into a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties. While Will attempts to control his daughter's every move to prevent her from falling deeper into this dangerous new life, Zoe prefers to give Leah slack in the hope that she may learn from her mistakes. Their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage.

Twelve-year-old Justine observes Leah's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family. She desperately seeks her big sister's approval and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. Meanwhile she is left to question whether her parents lover her and whether God even knows she exists.

What happens when love just isn't enough? Who will pay the consequences of Leah's vagrant lifestyle? Can this broken family survive the destruction left in Leah's wake?

What Stephanie Thinks: A family's struggle to keep themselves together and their irresponsible college-bound daughter in control is beautifully told in this debut novel. Long's writing style is absorbing and fast-paced, though the story itself drags on a bit. I would skim a few pages here and there, and constantly would find myself calculating how many pages I had left to read. This certainly will suck the joy out of a leisurely read. However, the overall plot is both lively and poignant, making it a touching story of the strength of sisterhood and turmoils of parenthood.

Each of the characters are really fleshed out, which I love. For the most part though, they are not likable. Leah, for instance, is a girl who has it all. She's a deep and relatable character, but she's incredibly whiny, ungrateful, and melodramatic. Long creates the perfect caricature of misbehaving teenagers within her, but I don't think most teenagers behave as exaggeratedly as she does. Both the parents have good intentions, and I can tell the author created them from her personal experience. It's clear this book was written by a loving mother. Will and Zoe aren't flawless, which we learn as the plot progresses. I find Will selfish and Zoe weak, but again, that's strong characterization. I really do love Justine, though. She's so genuine, that I want her to be MY little sister!

The way children are described makes it evident that the author is an experienced mother. The topics of drugs, sex, and wild parties, however, seems to be shocking to her. They say you should write about what you know, and Long details the obscure nit and grit rather awkwardly, but still maintains a realistic tone in her multidimensional family. Then again, it's not like only drugdealers can write edgy fiction, so I do give her props for the variety.

This almost frightening account of adolescence is stirring and thought-provoking. It piques the question of whether or not parental perfection is truly achievable, and also induces those What if? worries all mothers and fathers wonder in their lifetimes. Leah's slow, deliberate deterioration truly hits home and lingers in the mind, even once it is all over.

Stephanie Loves: "Through everything that had happened with her family this fall, through all their trials and travails, her mother's retreat into the fuzzy world of her pain pills, her family's dizzying fights, even while Leah was away, though she'd missed her sister terribly, Justine had stayed strong. Now, the tears fell, releasing all that pent-up emotion. And there was no holding back."

Radical Rating: 7 hearts- A few flaws here and there, but overall enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Free-Flowing Read!, November 3, 2011
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This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Kindle Edition)
Leah's teenage rebellion affects everyone in her life. Will Tyler is a hard-working, middle-class jock who pins his Harvard dreams on his teenage soccer-star daughter, Leah. Wife Zoe has it all together, a therapist, wife and mom who coaches people on how to live their lives. Leah is a rebellious sixteen-year-old who is more interested in finding herself than pleasing her parents. Younger sister, Justine, is the good child who idolizes her sister and plays mediator between Leah and her parents. Todd, Leah's delinquent boyfriend, really loves her but inevitably guides her in the wrong direction. As Leah's rebellion progresses, her world changes and she loses everything that is dear to her. Leah's decisions tear her family apart and cause a myriad of events.
This story is full of characters that the reader loves and hates at the same time. Leah is strong yet weak. Her parents have it all together but can't keep it together. Justine is smart but vulnerable. And Todd is a loser yet charming. In Leah's Wake is a wonderful, free-flowing read that captivates the reader to the very end.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Road to no where..., September 4, 2011
This review is from: In Leah's Wake (Kindle Edition)
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review*

I finished this book 3 days ago. I've pondered ever since as to what type of review I would give.

For me, I felt this book led no where. Just when I thought something eventful, non-suspecting or shocking would happen, nothing. It seemed hum-drum for me and to drag on and on and on.

If you're looking for something to compare our own life to, such as parenting a teen on drugs, or a teen involved with "the wrong group or person(s)" that you just wish would go away, then this is for you and I'd recommend it.

However, if you're the type looking for something different, not normal, off the beaten path, then it's not for you.
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In Leah's Wake
In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long
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