In this disarming debut, Brian Strause has written a vastly
entertaining novel about an American family transfixed by a series of
mysterious events. From a comfortable suburb of Columbus, Ohio, emerges a story
of rebellion, faith, and hope, bridging the cultural gap between those who
believe in miracles and those who wish they could.
Monroe Anderson—as quiet on the outside as he is sardonic
and alive on the inside—has spent most of his eighteen years trying to fly
beneath the radar. If he can remain invisible, he believes, his sadistic older
brother, a rising golf star, might not torment him, his workaholic father, a
renowned litigator, might not notice him long enough to be disappointed, and
his mother might not have to struggle so hard to find a hopeful word. The only
people who glimpse the real Monroe are his girlfriend, Emily, and his eleven-year-old
On the night of his senior prom, Monroe finds Annika
floating facedown in the family pool. He dives in and rescues her, but not
quickly enough to prevent her from slipping into a coma. As the family copes
with this crisis, Monroe’s mother turns to religion, his father turns to
liquor, and Monroe himself must decide what’s worth believing in, what’s worth
fighting for, and, finally, who he wants to be.
By turns humorous and heartbreaking, personal and sweeping,
familiar and extraordinary, Brian Strause’s mesmerizing novel takes readers on
an unforgettable emotional journey into America’s heartland.
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