Next week LDSBookcorner will be running 2009 Whitney Award winner Riley Noehren’s book Gravity vs. The Girl. Noehren’s book tied for Best Novel by a New Author with Dan Well’s book, I Am Not A Serial Killer.
I find that some of the most unique and intriguing books by LDS writers tend to fall into the Whitney’s General Fiction category, and this year was no exception.
Though the cover of Gravity vs. The Girl is relatively simple, the title caught my attention immediately, and it was the first book I read after the finalists were announced last winter.
The premise is distinctive as well. Samantha Green has just spent the better part of a year in her pajamas sleeping away her life after going through an emotional breakdown. It’s time for her to wake up and get on with her life, but she is still traumatized and weak. To assist in the healing Samantha encounters four ghosts, phantoms of her former self. A young child who’s just lost her mother, a teenager trying to figure out who she is, a collage aged young adult with a rebellious streak and a thing for drummers and a high powered lawyer who doesn’t want to let go of her massive shoe collection and beautifully decorated condo.
As Samantha slowly creeps back to life, dealing with the powerful and often poignant influences from her former selves, it’s clear that her future will be a lot different than the past she’s left behind, but how and in what way remains to be seen.
I loved this book. I found it fascinating to read in a strange and sort of hypnotic way. Noehren pulls you into a world where there are no sign posts, and no sense of direction. Yet despite that confusion, the reader can’t wait to dive in deeper. There are profound truths hidden in these lines and a perspective of life I hadn’t considered before. At the same time I was highly entertained.
The characters feel very real, and the pace is quick enough to keep the reader's interest. There is a tendency for books with a message to get a little preachy, but this is not the case with Gravity vs. The Girl. Instead it is revealed through the characters, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.
I would highly recommend this book, especially to those readers who are looking for a little depth and sophistication in their summer time fiction.