Synopses & Reviews
Alice LaPlante's acclaimed psychological thrillers are distinguished by their stunning synthesis of family drama and engrossing suspense. Her new novel is an affecting foray deeper into the creases of family lifeand the light-and-dark battle of faithas LaPlante delves into the barbed psyche of a teenager whose misguided convictions bear irrevocable consequences.
Never one to conform, Anna always had trouble fitting in. Earnest and willful, as a young girl she quickly learned how to hide her quirks from her parents and friends. But when, at sixteen, a sudden melancholia takes hold of her life, she loses her sense of self and purpose. Then the Goldschmidts move in next door. They're active members of a religious cult, and Anna is awestruck by both their son, Lars, and their fervent violent prophecies for the Tribulation at the End of Days. Within months, Anna's lifeher family, her home, her very identitywill undergo profound changes. But when her newfound beliefs threaten to push her over the edge, she must find her way back to center with the help of unlikely friends. An intimate story of destruction and renewal, New York Times bestselling author LaPlante delivers a haunting exploration of family legacies, devotion, and tangled relationships.
"A teen seeking to forge her own identity meets an apocalyptic cult in LaPlante's (Turn of Mind) psychological thriller, a thought-provoking bildungsroman set in the ironically named Sunnyvale, Calif. Bright but troubled 16-year-old Anna Franklin is profoundly lonely and depressed when she meets her new neighbors, the Goldschmidts, whose son, Lars, is her classmate at school. The Goldschmidts belong to a group preparing for the violent end times they believe are rapidly approaching. Their ideology gives Anna the sense of purpose she lacks, and their admiration for the strange visions she has begun having offers a sense of belonging that her own preoccupied, conflict-ridden family can't provide. As her inflexible new beliefs alienate her from her parents and peers, a tragic accident forces her to begin questioning her convictions, as well as her closeness to Lars and his fellow believers. But her deepening bonds with Jim Fulson, a young man scarred by his own troubled adolescence, and the enigmatic chemistry teacher Clara Thadeous, offer no easy solutions; ultimately, Anna must embrace the risks of charting her own course. LaPlante's rich themes of faith and doubt, vision and blindness, emerge compellingly as the early parts of the story build. Though the second half is less focused and strains credibility, Anna's dramatic journey toward authentic selfhood raises interesting questions. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenburg Agency. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for Coming of Age at the End of Days
"Seductive." Vanity Fair
"LaPlantes psychological thriller [is] a thought-provoking bildungsroman. . . . LaPlantes rich themes of faith and doubt, vision and blindness, emerge compellingly." Publishers Weekly
"Tension and suspense are heightened through short chapters, terse matter-of-fact prose, and what is left unsaid." Library Journal
"[With] fleet, insightful prose, LaPlante delivers gratifying . . . twists in one girl's search for salvation." Kirkus Reviews
"LaPlante has a talent for depicting family dynamics and for making the environments her characters inhabit reflect their inner states." Booklist
"An electrifying and beautifully rendered page-turner, Coming of Age at the End of Days is a richly evocative look at what it means to find yourself in a world that can feel so hopelessly lost." Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia
About the Author
Alice LaPlante is an award-winning and best-selling author of numerous books, including A Circle of Wives and the New York Times bestseller Turn of Mind, which was the winner of the Wellcome Trusts Book Prize and a B&N Discover Award finalist. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University and in the MFA program at San Francisco State University.