**I received a copy of this book to review from BookSparks PR.**
The thing a parent never, ever wants to live through. Their child's death during a school shooting. 16 yr old Gabriel went to the town's only school, an elementary school and shot some children before turning the gun on himself. This book deals with the aftermath. There are three main characters, all women.
Jennifer is a mother suffering the loss of her only son and trying to be there for her daughter. Her husband is not being all that understanding or available to his wife, so she has found her own ways to cope...the main one being alcohol. She is understandably angry and desolate.
Charlotte, the town mayor and wife of the school principal. She is trying to heal the town and get everything back to normal. She is trying to be understanding to the suffering of grieving parents, but having no children of her own does make this a challenge.
And finally there is Julia. She is the mother of Gabriel. She feels an immense guilt for what happened. Not only does she blame herself, but much of the town does as well. Her house is regularly vandalized and she fears leaving her home. She also doesn't feel she has the right to mourn the loss of her son. She does have one good friend, who also happens to be one of the mothers who lost a child in the shooting. Julia has a hard time accepting help from her, because of the guilt she feels. When Charlotte realizes what is going on, she tries to help. Jenn isn't vandalizing the woman's home, but she does blame Julia.
I love how Steena handled this book. It is raw emotion, especially if you have children. But I love how she treats Julia with compassion. There is only so much a parent can do with a troubled child. There is only so much help available. And the fact is, Julia is also mourning the loss of her child along with having to live with what he did. This is a fictional book dealing with a serious issue. I think she took a very balanced and realistic approach. I know this is part of a series, and after coming to care so much for these characters and others in the book, I can't wait to see more.