Publisher: Halcyon Moon Books
Publish Date: September 18, 2012
Origins: From Author for Review
Synopsis: Fourteen year old Willa Burkett has been waiting her whole life to leave Hoosick Falls—a nowhere place that fails to hold even a single good memory.
But, when a series of vengeful incidents stir Willa’s mother Stella to impulsively pack-up and go, it is only to find themselves stranded in yet another ugly, near extinct town, only now, with a broken down car and no ready way out.
Unable to move on until an alternate plan shows itself, they accept a job working for Omega Pearl Bodie, proprietress of the Moonglow motel—a long forgotten, steadily decaying relic, where mostly nothing happens—except now, when everything does.
It is here in this place of desperate loneliness and restless boredom that Willa will have her world rocked to the core in ways she doesn't immediately comprehend.The craziness of the life she’s left behind all but eclipsed by the dark turn of the here and now, as Willa attempts to keep one step ahead of the ever-twisting whims of a mother prone to keeping secrets and telling lies, a murderous arsonist returned to the scene of his earlier crimes to dole out revenge one fiery victim at a time—and Jesse Truman. A boy with indigo eyes that Omega Pearl has hired as handyman at the Moonglow—who Willa longs to save—if only she understood what it is he needs saving from.
Review: Barbara Forte Abate has written a heartbreaking novel in 'Asleep Without Dreaming'. Willa Burkett is a teenage girl who is at the mercy of her neglectful and spiteful mother, Stella. All Stella cares about is money, her hare-brained schemes, and looking like Jackie O. Now on the run from Hoosick Falls for no reason known to Willa, she and Stella land in Harriet's Bluff after their car breaks down for good. Taken in by Omega Pearl Bodie, who runs The Moonglow, Stella begins working as a maid cleaning the rental cottages. During this time, Willa is covering for her mother (who hates to work), striking up a friendship with Jesse Thurman (Omega's teenage handyman), and getting caught up in the fires being set supposedly by a murderer who has come back to Harriet's Bluff for revenge.
I enjoyed Ms. Abate's telling of one girl's summer which ended up defining the rest of her life. It is during this time and the events therein which full form who Willa will become. I felt drawn to the characters, who were neither truly good or truly evil, but were so complex and real. I absolutely disliked Stella; however, I could see how she got to be the way she is. I couldn't understand how anyone so selfish could ever have a child, but she did and she treated Willa horribly - projecting her own malfunctions onto Willa and never taking any responsibility for her actions. The relationship between Jesse and Willa was both sweet and bittersweet, filled with longing and over-thinking at times by Willa. Both Jesse and Willa are damaged and trust is slow to come, yet as their relationship blossoms, it is truly something beautiful. Stunning in both its depth and simplicity, Ms. Abate has written a poignant novel showcasing how one timepoint in your life can affect you forever.
Books by this Author: The Secret of Lies