Seventeen-year-old Lucy Scarborough appears to lead a normal life. She is a junior in high school, runs track, hangs out with her friend, Sarah, and looks forward to the approaching prom and her first date with Gray. She does have one secret, though, shared only with her foster parents and her neighbor/friend Zach. Lucy’s birth mother is insane.
Right after Lucy is born, her mom, Miranda, falls into insanity and disappears. Leo and Soledad attempt repeatedly to help their friend, but the only thing they can do is raise Lucy with love as her foster parents. Now and then, Miranda shows up, shirking the shadows, watching, always humming and singing a certain song. Lucy hates it when Miranda appears, stressing the family, embarrassing her, throwing heated words and sometimes even throwing bottles and cans. Lucy admits to wishing Miranda would just disappear for good.
And then prom day arrives, and except for an episode with Miranda, Lucy’s evening is magical --- until the end. After everyone else leaves the party, her shy, quiet date, Gray, rapes her. Immediately following, Gray kills himself in a car accident. Lucy takes the steps for healing, thankful that she has her foster parents and her good friend Zach for support. Still, she can’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t Gray who did it, that someone or something had taken over his body. But that’s crazy, isn’t it?
Not long after, Lucy realizes she’s pregnant. At about the same time, she uncovers a few clues to her birth mom’s past from a diary and a letter. Everything adds up to reveal an ancient curse placed on the Scarborough women long ago. The curse instructs each of them to perform three impossible tasks before her daughter is born, or face an eternity of insanity. Lucy bands together with her foster parents and Zach to successfully complete the tasks and break the curse once and for all.
Edgar Award winner and National Book Award finalist Nancy Werlin has created an intriguing and amazing tale. She has an incredible talent of weaving such an enthralling story, of inviting a reader so deeply into its threads, that one almost completely forgets one is reading a book. Along with the captivating characters and unique plot, her writing style pinpoints all of Lucy’s pain, confusion and struggles, along with her hopes, dreams and loves, almost becoming a real friend. Werlin also handles the more delicate scenes, such as the rape, with discretion and tact.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on August 11, 2009