Luke Prescott’s life is pretty standard for an average middle class seventeen-year-old in small town Delaware–he’s a successful high school athlete, working on college admission essays; he has a small group of close friend and a part-time girl friend. His single mom and grandma have raised Luke and his two sisters; his father was little more than a sperm donor. Until, that is, his mom slips him a scrap of paper with his father’s name and phone number–and the man he knew only apocryphally as Anthony Boyle is revealed to be the (now) famous Hollywood actor Mark Franco.
And quick as you can say “school’s out for the summer”, Luke is on his way to Los Angeles and a life far from his own. Mark and Luke’s relationship starts out polite and tentative, both men looking for their missing piece in the other. Before long, Luke finds himself included in Mark’s red carpet premier, he’s on the set of Mark’s latest movie, he walks through an interview with a journalist for a People-like magazine. And true to all good stories, both Mark and Luke imagine themselves living happily ever after. But will they? Because like many good stories, secrets also abound that just might destroy this The End.
While the story of Mark and Luke was satisfying enough, I was enthralled by the dynamics of Luke’s life at home. Mom is a yoga teacher, called Sara by her children. The New Age milieu unfolded onto the pages: Luke went on a Sacred Journey at age thirteen, Sara spends a month of silence at a retreat center. Self-actualization is the apple pie to this mom. In fact, I was so taken aback at the New Age references that I thought at first it might be ridicule, but I don’t think so. It was, rather, a rare peek into a world not often pictured (surprisingly) in contemporary fiction. And even more luscious to me was the fact that Luke’s grandmother is a Bible-believing, testifying, prayerful New Brethren who lives with and loves her oddball family in a wonderful East-meets-West kind of way.
This is not a book for which I’ll insert that [spoiler alert]. Quirky characters in worlds very much like and unlike our own–what could be better?