Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Edges by Léna Roy

"It's about addiction, and twelve-step programs, and mysticism. In Utah."

My husband just looked at me and shook his head. Yes, it sounds weird. But Léna Roy's Edges works!

Luke is seventeen, and has left his home in New York for a youth hostel in Moab, Utah. Why? Well, that's part of the story.

Meanwhile, in New York we meet Ava, nineteen, sober only a few weeks, and attending AA meetings. Her path and Luke's are about to cross.

As the book moves along, Roy unfolds for us how Luke came to be in Utah, how Ava came to be a recovering alcoholic, and how their lives are about to connect. I really liked the pacing of this.

There's also a strong dash of mysticism and spirituality. AA, of course, has a spiritual basis, with its reliance on a Higher Power, and Roy's characters do frequently refer to the Higher Power concept. And in Utah, we meet a Southwestern mysticism, with kachinas, spirit animals, and a shaman. But, subtly, Roy shows us that it's all one -- that there *is* something out there, surrounding us and caring for us. Is it God, the spirit of the bear, the power of love, or just our collective souls working together? Perhaps it depends on the eye of the beholder. Whatever it is, it's life-changing for the characters in Edges.

I really enjoyed reading Edges, and in fact, I read it TWICE before reviewing it, because after the first time I felt like it was still sinking in; I wasn't sure I got everything the first time. The story's well told, and the characters and descriptions are vivid. And love and community both run throughout the book.

Finally, yes, Léna Roy is Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughter. I had contacted Léna several months ago with a question about her grandmother's work, and found that she had a young adult novel coming out soon! Naturally, as a huge L'Engle fan, I was interested -- and I'm very glad now that I tracked her down and got to read this book!

Find out more about Edges at http://lenaroybooks.com, and visit Léna Roy's blog at http://lenaroy.com.

Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan for providing me with a review copy of Edges.