A couple of months back, one thing led to another…
I started to follow the blog of Lena Roy, writer and granddaughter of famed author Madeleine L’Engle.
Then she checked out my blog. The latest posting just happened to be about her grandmother’s influence on me and the time L’Engle signed my copy of A Wrinkle in Time.
Roy and I communicated a bit through Facebook, and I entered a contest on her page to win a signed copy of her first novel Edges. I won the book.
That’s what Roy calls synchronicity. “For Amanda, and synchronicity…” she wrote in red marker on the title page.
She wondered what I would think of her first novel, since I am such a big fan of her grandmother’s work. I truly had no expectations of Roy being her grandmother any more than I am my grandmother, no matter how much we may each be like our grandmothers or how greatly influenced by them. Because she is the granddaughter of L’Engle, will readers have different expectations of Roy than they would if she was any other first-time YA author? Maybe.
I’ll admit that I was excited that L’Engle’s granddaughter read my blog post, because she is L’Engle’s granddaughter. Related to one of my favorite authors! (That’s so much cooler than the fact that I’m supposedly related to Pocahontas.) But through our brief communications, I quickly came to like Roy for who she seems to be as a writer and mother.
Being a fellow writer, I knew that she would want her work to be enjoyed, critiqued, tossed to the side, or passed around…whatever…because it is hers. And, anyway, I want Madeleine L’Engle to stay who she is in my young reader’s heart and my adult reader’s mind.
The title lets us know this is a story about teetering on the brink. The main characters are Luke and Ava, a couple of young adults dealing with addiction and recovery and “caught between the pain of the past and the possibilities of the future,” according to the book jacket.
It’s also a story about synchronicity. That’s what I call God’s plan.
Here’s a description from the book so I don’t spoil the story for anyone: “Luke left his old life—his dead mother, his alcoholic father—behind in New York City when he came to Moab, Utah. … Back in New York, nineteen-year-old Ava is struggling through her own transformation—from drunk to recovering alcoholic. … She’s not sure she can keep it up. But someone she meets changes her mind, and a strange coincidence—or is it more than that?—brings Ava west to Moab as well.”
Roy, who has worked with at-risk adolescents, writes these characters alive. What I mean is that over the two days that I read the book, I caught myself, for a split second, thinking, “Hm, I wonder how Luke is doing—oh, yea, he’s not real.” Or maybe it would be better to say, he isn’t actual, because real is something a good writer creates.
What Roy also makes real is that which nearly every person searches for and finds (or finds and rejects): the belief in the seemingly unreal (that thing that is hopefully greater than we and maybe offers some purpose within the turmoil). The characters in Edges believe, or come to believe, that there is something or someone beyond their understanding at work in all their lives, whether miracles or great bear spirits or the Higher Power in the 12-Step Program.
Being a believer in Christ and a believer in The Way, I watched these very real characters trying to find A Way, sometimes pinball-ing off of each other in various spiritual directions. Good writing helped me to feel their confusion and their searching for reason and their growing awareness that synchronicity just might require someone synchronizing things.
The fact that Roy and I connected—because of fate or Jupiter joining Uranus on the lido deck or Jesus thinking there is something we can learn and enjoy from our “meeting”—is an event that I look at as a gift.
Congratulations on your first YA novel, Lena Roy. It was meant to be!
For more about Lena Roy and Edges, visit: http://www.lenaroy.com/p/edges.html.
7 thoughts on “Edges”
Thanks, Sophie. Roy has insight into the struggles of teens, which is evident in her character development. And I’ve never been to Utah, but her descriptions of the terrain lend a mystical quality to it.
Great book review, makes me want to read it!
It is cool, Melanie. And I don’t usually do cool; I usually move more along the lines of weird. So this is a nice change.
Thanks Melanie and Wonderwegian!
I think it is totally cool that you have a writerly connection with Madeline L’Engle AND her granddaughter. Wow!