Your Rightful Home by Alyssa Knickerbocker
In full disclosure, Your Rightful Home was written by a childhood friend of mine. However, Lauren Groff (of Fates and Furies fame) blurbed this before her book became Obama's #1 book of 2015. So... legit. Absolutely legit.
A unique narrative voice lends an incredible sense of urgency to this tale of two friends. The reader is immediately placed in the middle of the tale of Lydia's disappearance and is made to feel like the events are happening to her. Knickerbocker expresses the exquisite and excruciating nature of childhood and all of the questions that are never satisfyingly answered for us, even well into adulthood (if ever).
This book begins as a realistic, lighthearted view of childhood and as the protagonist grows, the narrative of her childhood becomes more complex, nuanced and dark. The mystery at the heart of Your Rightful Home surprisingly ends up not being the most dramatic occurence as the character matures and collects more of her own story. The story of Lydia's disappearance, in the end, becomes a cocktail party story that is used to amuse and break the awkward silences. And we all have those stories... the ones that, at their moment seemed like the most incredible thing that could or would ever happen to us. But the years soften the scar and something that was once the event that defined us becomes fodder for a casual conversation over a glass of Pinot Noir (well, not for me. I'm not woman enough to drink red wine).
Alyssa Knickerbocker may be someone I grew up with, but her voice is one that cannot be denied. Her writing is both haunting and uplifting and her characters are so relatable and universal that you truly feel you're living within the story.
Lydia was your neighbor, the childhood friend you spent all your time with. Then a lie sends Lydia running out of your front door, after which she disappears. In Your Rightful Home we follow the life of a woman from childhood to adulthood and her struggle to discover who she is in the light of a tragedy she feels she may have caused. Are the formative powers of loss insurmountable? Can a single indiscretion define a person’s entire life?