From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Still experiencing the hurt from a recent breakup, Emily also has to contend with her grandfather's death and the ensuing family drama that occurs soon after his funeral. Helping her cope is a new friendship with Leo, who, though dismissive and aloof at first, allows her into his life. Plot elements abound. Leo has anger issues, an alcoholic mother, and a sporadically present father, and Emily is hit with one revelation after another (finding out about her grandfather's infidelity, a half aunt as a result of his affair, and revealed secrets that make her question her identity). Through it all, Gunnery gives Emily a thoughtful, introspective, and easily relatable voice, avoiding histrionics even as the narrative tends to drift toward afterschool-special territory.-Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Seventeen-year-old Emily Sinclair is devastated when her high-school boyfriend dumps her six weeks after leaving for college. She doesn’t think she can feel worse, but then long-held family secrets come to light, and life starts to come apart at the seams. The first shocker is that her recently deceased grandfather had a 23-year affair with a married woman and an illegitimate child, who turns up for dinner one night. But the ultimate revelation comes closer to the end of the novel, flipping Emily’s whole world upside down. There are many adult characters here (including Emily’s 88-year-old grandmother), but a story line involving Emily’s rough-around-the-edges yet supportive friend, Leo Mac, a boy with troubles of his own, brings the average age down. Although the novel’s final revelation feels somewhat truncated, and a few scenes in particular could use fleshing out, the characters—and their problems—are believable. This is ultimately a story about messy familial ties and the unconventional ways in which some families form out of love. Grades 7-10. --Ann Kelley