From Publishers Weekly
A series of unlikely friendships and alliances are forged in this piercing, meticulously descriptive first novel by Adams (after the much-praised story collection Any Small Thing Can Save You), set in a ranching town on the scrubby sage flats of Idaho. Fourteen-year-old Kenny Swanson has just moved to town with his mother, Lenna, who is struggling to support her son after a bitter divorce. Kenny's pilot father rarely sends money and only sees Kenny every few years; a fleeting visit at the start of the novel is followed by news of his death in a plane crash. Quiet, watchful Kenny latches onto Cynthia Dustin, a striking, independent high school senior who is hoping to escape to music school upon graduation. Kenny's other idol is Roddy Moyers, a local rodeo star in his late 20s who woos both Cynthia and Lenna. Misunderstandings are inevitable as this web of relationships grows ever more tangled, and matters come to a head when Roddy gives Cynthia permission to use his parents' empty house to practice piano. Cynthia brings Kenny along and they are discovered asleep together in the house, causing Cynthia's strict, brutal father to misinterpret their friendship. Adam's loving portrayal of Idaho ranch country ("the dark red cattle in the snow looked like a crooked line of stitches in a blanket") and her strong supporting cast of hardscrabble cowboys and local eccentrics gives depth and texture to her tale. Though the novel ends with a rather improbable act of reconciliation, Adam's storytelling is loose and loping, leaving just enough unsaid.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In a small Idaho town, new arrival Kenny Swanson is still off-balance from his parents' divorce. A high-school freshman, he is not allowed to pursue his passion for bronc riding because his mother, Lenna, can't afford insurance. Lenna fears her life is becoming the stuff of country songs and struggles to balance her mothering instinct with her own need for love. On the other side of the tracks, Cynthia Dustin, a high-school senior and an aspiring pianist, has yet to find a single foothold in her relationship with her hard-edged father. Linking them all is Roddy Moyers, a handsome, free-spirited rodeo hero. Though it might sound like a recipe for country ham, Adam's first novel is nothing of the sort. She writes with shimmering prose and emotional restraint about ordinary people and difficult adjustments. Her characters are dead ringers for their real-life counterparts, and, although this lyrical work ignores the modern West of sprawl, subdivisions, and Wal-Marts, Adam's rendering of inner landscapes is right on the money. Keir GraffCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved