After their mother’s probable suicide, Jazz and Olivia Moon struggle to move on with their lives. Olivia, an eighteen-year-old who can taste words and see sounds, blinds herself by staring at the sun, then decides to walk to the remote setting of her mother’s unfinished novel to resuscitate her hopes and dreams. Jazz, twenty-two, plagued by unresolved conflict with her mother and a hidden trove of her unsent letters, takes a job in a funeral home before being forced back into the role of her sister’s keeper.
The sisters’ journey through the wilds of West Virginia, disaster-prone from the start, takes a turn when they meet two train-hoppers with dangerous secrets, and Jazz learns that Olivia holds a dark secret of her own in the form of their mother’s final unread letter. Mistrust, resentments, and new attachments threaten to tear the two apart, until a final bizarre misadventure forces them to decide what’s really important.
This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories.
Therese Walsh is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.
Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, lifelong actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and creative writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While she was in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a tea master.