The Fall of Lisa Bellow: Book summary and reviews of The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo

The Fall of Lisa Bellow

by Susan Perabo

The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo X
The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2017
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

When a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in an unforgettable way.

What happens to the girl left behind?

A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind.

After Lisa's abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith's mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive, and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.

Like Everything I Never Told You and Room, The Fall of Lisa Bellow is edgy and original, a hair-raising exploration of the ripple effects of an unthinkable crime. It is a dark, beautifully rendered, and gripping novel about coping, about coming-of-age, and about forgiveness. It is also a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The texture of family life as it unravels, then begins to regenerate, is conveyed with unflinching clarity and redemptive good humor." - Kirkus

"Perabo captures both the unease and bravado of adolescence alongside the worries of parenthood and is unafraid to explore the family members' flaws as they attempt to emerge from chaos." - Booklist

"Survivor's guilt takes on a unique form here, as the novel plays with the reader's understanding of what is actually going on in Meredith's world." - Publishers Weekly

"A searingly smart and painful exploration of aftermath - the voids left in tragedy's wake, the truths that can never be spoken. To be the one left behind: Perabo never shies away from how much this can hurt. But in her hands, what seems at first like a story of loss ultimately becomes a narrative of renewal - and an unforgettable portrait of mothers, daughters, and the tangle of desperation, fear, history, confusion, and love that binds them together." - Robin Wasserman, author of Girls on Fire

"I can't wait to share this beautiful, funny and tragic page turner with my fifteen year-old. I just know it will spark the scintillating, honest conversation I've been waiting for!" - Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens

"Breathless as a thriller, this exhilarating novel shatters your heart then pieces it back together chapter by chapter until the last devastating sentence ... Psychologically insightful and emotionally engrossing, this is a story that will transform you from the inside out." - Kim van Alkemade, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8

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Author Information

Susan Perabo

Susan Perabo is the author of the collections of short stories, Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do, and the novel The Broken Places. Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. She is Writer in Residence and Professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program at Queens University. She holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

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