How many 17-year-olds could hold it together when their father is institutionalized and their mother disappears? Lucille Bennett, the heroine of this affecting young adult novel, is one tough teen because she has to do just that. Lucille suddenly finds herself having to get through her senior year while taking care of her nine-year-old sister, Wren. She finds a job that pays enough to cover the bills, guzzles vast amounts of coffee, and just tries to make it from day to day. She’s prickly, defensive, and also desperately in love with her best friend’s twin brother, Digby. But he has a girlfriend, and Louise has put up so many defenses that she’s not sure she’s even capable of a relationship. Eventually all of this has to come to a head, and it does, with consequences for everyone, especially Lucille.
Laure has created a heartbreaking, beautiful, and believable story. Her use of language is outstanding, laying bare Louise’s emotions in a way that speaks directly to the reader. The book is sprinkled with quotes from authors like Virginia Woolf and Cormac McCarthy, and of course it references the Dylan Thomas poem from which its title is derived. The first-person narrative and colloquial style make the book accessible to everyone, and its character-driven, romantic story will appeal to readers of Eleanor & Park. It’s a moving, hopeful read.