I had a chance to read my blog-friend Heidi Willis's debut novel a few weeks ago, and it was a real (sugar-free) treat.
Babs Babcock never finished school past the tenth-grade, but when her daughter is diagnosed with diabetes and an incurable insulin-allergy, Babs immerses herself in cutting-edge scientific research to find a cure. Problem is, the cure she finds goes against everything she and her family, not to mention her town, stands for.
But I think her awesome book trailer sums it up best.
The whole book is written in Bab's unique southern voice, and even though the subject matter of the book was not light, Babs made me laugh throughout.
What touched me the most while reading this book was the family relationships. They were so REAL to me I wanted to reach out and touch them. Babs and her daughter Ashley, who is dying but worries whether Brian Lee will be at Saturday movie night. Babs and her son Logan, who have matching souls but don't understand one another. Babs and her husband Travis, who define married love by the end of the book.
You see this family come together during their crisis in a beautiful way.
My favorite character? Hands down was the deviant, pink-mohawk teenage son, Logan. If this was a young-adult novel, I think I would have fallen in love with him a little bit. He plays the troubled teen, but he is really brilliant and devoted to his sister.
This family must bear the pricks of their closest friends and neighbors when they seek a cure in stem cell research that goes against the grain of their small town values. Babs finds pillars of strength among her friends, and those she didn't know were her friends, in her Baptist church. (And she only joined because the Baptists always looked like they were having so much more fun than the Lutherans.)
Heidi really did her research because woven throughout his deeply-felt tale is contemporary science. In fact, I googled a few things about stem cell research after reading because it sparked a few questions. Heidi herself is a diabetic, only not allergic to insulin, which I'm glad because I like her alive. And now she can write more books.