Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

In Leah's WakeSynopsis provided by Goodreads

 The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore. 

While Zoe and Will fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. 

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn’t enough? 

Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

My Thoughts:

In Leah's Wake is Terri Giuliano Long Debut Novel.  A novel about the trials and tribulation's of raising two teenage daughters.  A family living in an upscale community with their straight A, well behaved daughters. 

Leah, a high school Soccer star, and Captain of her team,  with the coaching from her father, Will first then a demanding Coach, already being recruited by Harvard and with a full scholarship on the line, Leah has other plans in mind very different from what her father and Coach want for her. 

Justine, an aspiring Scientist, straight A student and all around good girl has her faith in God tested to the limit when her sister Leah, suddenly starts to rebel against her family, friends and team mates after she meets her new boyfriend.

Will and Zoe Tyler, hard working parents who try to give their girls the best of everything. Will a successful sales Executive and Zoe a Therapist with her own private practice, and motivational seminars she does on the weekends. 

Life for the Tyler's seems great until Leah meets her trouble-making boyfriend. Life as they knew it takes a terrible downward spiral very quickly and turns all of their lives upside down.  Leah doesn't know what she wants anymore, as she struggles for her independence, the once close family she had quickly falls apart.  Will and Zoe struggle with the decisions on how to handle their daughter's new attitude and the decisions she is making, which is having a terrible impact on their marriage, while Justine is left trying to hold the family together.  While trying to be the loyal sister and the good daughter, Justine suffers and test's the faith she has in God. 

I have read a lot of books in the past on raising teens who rebel against their parents for one reason or another, but I have never read a book so close to home before.  I love the way Terri tells the story from all side's of the family, not just the parents.  You get to see where Leah's anger and frustration's are coming from, and where Justine's emotions are all over the place and doesn't know what to do to hold her family together.  It's is also told from Will and Zoe's perspective's as well, as frustrated parents wondering if they are making the right choices on handling Leah's troubles she gets into. It takes the novel to a new level of understanding the whole picture. 

I have a personal bond and understanding with Terri's novel.  I have a son who has ADHD and ODD, he was a very hard child to raise.  Growing up he had the same pent up anger, never being allowed to do what the other kids did and rebelling to get his freedom and independence.  I also have a younger boy who was a really good kid, and like Justine he got put off to the side because I never had to worry about him, he was the good one.  I saw the similarities between Will and Zoe's marriage, in my own and how much strain and stress it puts on a marriage.  The fighting and not trusting each other and the children trying to put us against each other, and how easy it is for a marriage to end because of it all. 

In the end, thank goodness it all has a way of working out for most, this was a very profound book for me, as I would think and hope it would be for all who read it. Terri takes you on an emotional ride where you are praying for all to work out in the end, but also for anyone who has gone through raising a child who rebels makes you understand, you are not alone.  It is a hard time to watch and know that you can not control your kids anymore when they reach that age, and hope and pray that what you have taught them will help them make the right decisions.  

Terri's way of telling this story is superb, compelling, and leaves a huge impact on you.  I am very honored to have been given the chance to read "In Leah's Wake" and cannot wait to read what Terri writes next. This is a must read novel and recommend it to everyone, especially parents.  

Trailer for In Leah's Wake:

About this author:

Terri Giuliano Long

Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and as a lecturer at Boston College.

While her passion lies in the written word, Terri’s primary inspiration comes from her interest in existential philosophy and her observations of people and human nature. Her stories expand upon the subtle truths and what-ifs of everyday life. No matter where her stories journey, they always tie back to the family—the ways we love yet, in loving, too often hurt one another, the grief, the sorrow, the revelation, and the joy. Terri’s goal is to offer lasting hope and deep emotional connection in a compact and entertaining package.

Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, traveling to far-flung places, and meeting interesting people. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook and she loves fine wine and good food. In an alternate reality, she could have been very happy as an international food writer.

Terri loves connecting with people who share her passions. She can be reached on her website (, blog (, Facebook page ( or on Twitter (

Stay tuned, July 25th I will be doing an interview with Terri, so come on back and visit us then


  1. hi Nattie! great review! it's amazing how books sometimes reflect our real lives. at times they evoke sad memories, other times happy ones. what matters is that we come out better persons based on what have read and experienced as well.
    thanks for sharing your thoughts. i'll be doing a review of Terri's book next month! c",)

  2. Great review!! I've want to read this book!! Now I'm really looking forward to it!! My son has ADHD and Asperger's syndrome so I'm interested even more after reading your review!! Thanks for sharing!!
    Shannon (sister siren)!!

  3. Love the review Nat. I like Terri and her book rocks. I had a feeling you would like it since our kids have ADHD/ADD and ODD. I can't wait to see your interview with her.

    hugs from sassy siren sister

  4. Great review! This makes me want to read this book personally, I always loved these kind of books, books about teenagers and family values. I think this is one book that will keep me through the day, amazing!

  5. This book sounds great, and I can't wait to read your interview with the author. I'm a new follower, and I wanted to tell you that I love your art on your blog! It looks so great!

  6. Your siren sister Earth checking in:) Love this review. And in regards to your son with adhd and odd, I understand completely. My oldest daughter has these. We need to chat soon:)

  7. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments, it was a hard review for me as it was so close to home, I loved Terri's book and feel you all will as well.
    Welcome BookJunkie and thank you for following my blog please come visit often I will follow yours back as well. Sister Babs, Shannon and Heather it seems we all have more in common that we though lol. Its amazing how a book can bring us all together.
    Aobibliophile, I agree with you, it is amazing how a book can reflect our real lives, but I do agree with you in saying how we better ourselves with the experiences we have gone through is very true, my Dad always said "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger"
    Thank you all for your wonderful words.

  8. Dear Nattie,

    I am so touched - and honored - by your moving, gorgeous review! Thank you so very, very much!! And thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Parenting is a joy, and it's also a challenge - for all of us, I think; we wonder, we question ourselves. But I completely agree - our experiences absolutely make us stronger!

    I love your site, Nattie! Your artwork is beautiful!

    Hugs -


  9. Hi Terri,
    I am honored by your beautiful kind words, and was so happy to have been able to read your book, I don't often share my story, but I felt I needed to for this special book.

    I agree parenting is an absolute joy, and a huge challenge, and yes question ourselves on a daily basis, lol, sometimes i questioned myself on an hourly basis some days :)but, we hang in there and fight the good fight because they are our kids and we love them. In the end when they are all grown up and tell you "Thanks Mom" you know it was worth everything, every tear, every doubt you had every fear.
    I look at my kids now who are 16 and 20 and I am so proud of them and I sit back and KNOW I am a stronger, better person for having been through what I have.
    I thank you Terri for your book, you inspire me so much.

    Thank you Terri, I had some help with the art work my good friend Theresa at Fadeintofantasy helped and my good friend Babs made my button for me. Great friends are such a wonderful thing. :)
    Big Hugs Terri