Andrea’s Pick of the Week: Lone Stars by Justin Deabler

Lone Stars is a modern family saga of four generations of the Warner family, spanning from 1960’s Texas to Obama-era Brooklyn. Growing up along the border of Texas and Mexico, Lacy Adams discovers her mother isn’t telling her the truth about her family. In West Texas, a young man named Aaron Warner dreams of college football and life away from his blue-collar family, but his plans wash away when he is drafted into the Vietnam War. After a long-distance romance cultivated through letters, Lacy and Aaron marry and have a son, Julian, a gay young man growing up in conservative North Houston. The story follows Lacy, Aaron and Julian as they live through the events of the 1980s, 90s, and the new millennium. All are misfits in some way, not meeting the expectations that society has placed on them, and this leads them to believe they are somehow failing in their lives. Their struggles are part of the bigger issues that the country faces: LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, immigration, and racism.

Despite the timeframe and issues, however, this is not a heavy-handed drama. A multi-generational family story can end up being a tome, but Deabler fits his story into less than 300 pages by showing us just the most important parts of each character’s life through everyday, ordinary events. Likeable or not, under Deabler’s light touch they become fully formed, relatable, over the course of the book, and some of the pivotal scenes might even cause the reader (ahem, this reader) to get a little teary.

In the end, this is a book about believing in yourself and who you are, and the power of love in helping us all to do just that. If you enjoyed Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane, or The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, you will probably like this moving, big-hearted, sweeping story.

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