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All the Way HomeReview - All the Way Home
by Wendy Corsi Staub
HarperAudio, 2013
Review by Christian Perring
Nov 5th 2013 (Volume 17, Issue 45)

Rory Connelly comes back home to live with her ailing mother and much younger sister Molly after many years of being away, first in college, and then moving from place to place.  She stayed away for a long time, avoiding her home town because of bad memories: her elder sister had many years ago disappeared from the small safe town, Lake Charlotte, in upstate New York near the Adirondacks.  Then their father died.  Her mother has been deranged for about ten years now.  Molly is 13, and is interested in boys.  So Rory has her work cut out for her, trying to deal with a difficult situation.  Being back home reminds her not only of her sister, but of the year that her sister and three other teen girls disappeared and were assumed to have died.  The police never discovered what actually happened.

It turns out that Rory's summer is going to be even more difficult when one of Molly's friends disappears.  People start to wonder whether this is related to the mystery of the past, and whether other girls are in danger.  Rory uncovers some clues about that past, and she makes her own attempt to find out more about what really happened to her older sister and the other girls. 

Eventually, the rather complicated truth about the past is uncovered, and of course, several dark secrets are revealed.  Small town life is not as peaceful and simple as it might first seem, and family life has a dark side.  Yet despite the unhappy side of the plot, the tone of Staub's writing is strangely upbeat; Rory is a plucky lead character who can deal with whatever is uncovered.  This is not a novel of any great subtlety, but it is entertaining.  Allyson Ryan's narration of the unabridged audiobook is fine, although she has the unenviable task of doing the voices of children, one very young, and inevitably she ends up sounding silly.  She keeps the energy level up, and manages the melodrama competently.

 

© 2013 Christian Perring

 

Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York


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