Five a.m.: Amanda Mallorie wakes to the knowledge that her son Robbie is gone. And a new chapter of her own life must begin. She has spent four years as her son's only support, desperately trying to understand the actions that landed him on death row and to change his fate. Now Amanda faces an even more difficult task--finding a way, and a reason, to move forward with her own life.
Before the tragedy that unfolded in a South Dakota mall, Robbie was just like other people's sons or daughters. Sometimes troubled, but sweet and full of goodness too. That's the little boy Amanda remembers as she packs up his childhood treasures and progress reports, and discovers a class ring she's never seen before. Who does it belong to and why did Robbie have it in his possession? So begins a journey that will remind her not only of who Robbie used to be, but of a time when she wasn't afraid--to talk to strangers, to help those in need, to reach out. Robbie's choices can never be unmade, but there may still be time for forgiveness and trust to grow again. For a future as wide as the sky.
Oh. Wow. I really, really wasn't expecting that. Yeah, I don't really read blurbs for books of authors I am familiar with and trust. I like the surprise of it all and wow, was this book a complete surprise for me.
This story is told from alternating points of view, every other chapter being Amanda, the mother. Honestly, I was completely overwhelmed as a reader a few times and had to put the book down and take a breather. It was hard for me to digest all of Amanda's feelings and emotions in such a small space of time. Which is a good thing, right? I was feeling so many emotions and as a mother, it was so intense for me. There was so much to try to reason out in my mind as I grappled with Amanda's many thoughts. Emotional, intense. Those are the two words that keep coming back to me.
This definitely isn't a fluffy story. It's not romance. It's not light. It deals with several real and difficult issues. Mental heath, divorce, alcoholism, and of course, a mass shooting. That is intense stuff. I loved the added bits of "smart stuff" that had me thinking as well. The timers at the start of every chapter were interesting and had me thinking until I finally figured out what it was about. I like things like that.
I really am blown away with the amounts of intense feelings and emotion captured in this book. It's hard to imagine the place the author had to go to to achieve this level of emotional depth and understanding. She must have been completely wrung out every time she stopped writing. I am grateful for the place this book led me to. I have never really given much thought to the struggle of families of mass shooters left behind other than fleeting thoughts of how awful. Which it is. This book just leaves me with the reoccurring thoughts that the world needs more love. More kindness. More understanding.
Pick this book up. Be prepared for a gripping, emotional journey. This is like no other book that I have read.
Content: mental illness, alcohol abuse, divorce, mass shooting, death, mild swearing
- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the author Jessica Pack: Jessica Pack is a pseudonym for Josi Kilpack, author of twenty-six novels. Find more here: