Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds

In this warm and winning first novel, a recently divorced woman rises to the challenge and experiences the exhilaration of independence with the unlikely help of her brother with Asperger's, who she takes in to help pay the rent.

Seven months after her husband leaves her, Lana is still reeling. Being single means she is in charge of every part of her life, and for the first time in nineteen years, she can do things the way she always wanted to do them. But that also leaves her with all the responsibility. With two teenage children--Byron and Abby, who are each dealing with their own struggles--in a house she can barely afford on her solo salary, her new life is a balancing act made even more complicated when her brother Matt moves in.

Matt has Asperger's syndrome, which makes social situations difficult for him and flexibility and change nearly impossible. He only eats certain foods in a certain order and fixates on minor details. When Lana took him in, he was self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to numb his active mind enough to sleep at night. Adding Matt's regimented routine to her already disrupted household seems like the last thing Lana needs, but her brother's unique attention to detail makes him an invaluable addition to the family: he sees things differently.

Complex, smart, and genuinely moving, The Art of Adapting is a feel-good story that celebrates the small moments and small changes that make one big life.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Read an interview with the author HERE.

And another interview HERE. 

Praise for the book:

"Cassandra Dunn writes with compassion and grace about characters who are so compelling, you won't want this delightful novel to end." ~Ellen Sussman, author of A Wedding in Provence and French Lessons

“Dunn’s debut novel treats readers to a family in transition. . . . A neatly wrapped, happily-ever-after tale of a broken family that survives and thrives.” ~Kirkus Reviews

"Dunn's debut novel is a lively, engaging, and heartfelt tale of learning how to cope with change. Lana is separated from her husband, and trying to raise two teenagers. Her son Byron navigates between the jocks and the rebels, nursing a crush for his best friend's college-age sister, and getting interested in the sport of parkour. Her daughter Abby is descending into an eating disorder, while trying to keep up her high grades and her status as an honor student. The household is further complicated when Lana's brother Matt moves in—a challenge, since he has Asperger's syndrome, and has a unique way of ordering the world. Told from the alternating points of view of Lana, Matt, Byron, and Abby, Dunn is able to fully draw the reader into each individual character's skin. Through the four characters' conflicts, Dunn draws the reader's sympathy: Matt, in particular, is a memorable narrator. This is a thoughtful and touching novel, and will leave readers eager for the author's next work." ~Publishers Weekly

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