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From Barnes & NobleDiscover Great New Writers
Time is running out. The number of days until Alice Bliss's father gets called to Fort Dix and then to Iraq is dwindling painfully in her mind. She will go through the motions of saying goodbye and promising to be brave, but she can't imagine life without him. He's leaving just when she needs him most. At 14, she is a nervous teenager, facing the prospect of her first date, first dance, and first kiss during his absence. Though she's promised to look after her mother and sister, Alice is so unsteadied that she wears one of her father's shirts every day for weeks, until her mother insists that she wash it. Moving through each moment as if he were still there—eating foods he liked, doing chores they shared, recalling past conversations, Alice carefully patches each day back together, ticking off the days until he returns. While his calls and letters are never sufficiently long enough to ease the constant ache of his absence, time passes and almost imperceptibly, Alice picks up the strands of her life again, finding comfort in dulling routines while always implicitly preparing for that one irrevocable knock on the door.
A resonant story set against the uncertainty of war, Alice Bliss is a novel about the deep fusion of love and loss. Alice's complicated relationship with her mother, her abiding love for her absent father, and the first love she finds with the boy next door combine to define the young woman she's fast becoming. Alice is a memorable character and her poignant story is bursting with the richness of life.