Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry - lonely, friendless, not too good at sports - spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele - a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe, and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new step-family. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.

But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others - especially those we love - above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for. (taken from back cover of book)

This book was so beautiful. I hope I can do it the justice it deserves in explaining how wonderful and how highly recommended this book comes from me.

Henry is much more mature than your average 13 year old boy, but at the same time he is innocent and naive. Frank and Adele are both tortured souls, but it was inspiring to read about the relationship they forge in the six days most of the story takes place within. I really enjoyed the way these characters unraveled by slow increments giving you small glimpses into what shaped them into who they are today.

Maynard's prose was beautiful - the simplicity of it was just perfect. She also does a fantastic job in capturing all the emotions that run amok through a 13 year old’s mind.

There were moments that had me unexpectedly tightening my throat or the watering of my eyes. This is a coming-of-age story, a love story and a family drama all wrapped up into one beautifully wrapped package titled Labor Day. These are characters you won’t quickly forget, and this weekend that they spend together and the way it changes all of them, will change you just by having read it.

GIVEAWAY: And because I ♥ this so much - I will gladly give away my gently read ARC copy - to spread the love. Like I said, I can't recommend this highly enough. Just leave a comment and make sure to leave an email address. Open internationally. Winner will be chosen 9/11/09.


ccqdesigns said...

I keep reading nothing but glowing reviews so I would love to read your gently used ARC and I will pass it on to other friends to read as well.

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

Kristen said...

After all the positives I keep seeing for this, I'd love to throw my hat in the ring for this one.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

Debbie F said...

I really want this book! If I don't win it I will HAVE to go buy it!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Amy said...

I keep seeing positive reviews for this book and I would love to give it a try!
Amy J

Jenny said...

GREAT review!!! I have this on my TBR and definitely feel I need to make it one of my next reads.

Pam said...

I would love this book. The reviews are wonderful and the cover is hauntingly beautiful.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Vicki said...

Wow, so much going on!!! Sounds really good!

lelou2 AT ymail DOT com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a beautiful read...what an excellent review.

karen k

Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

I think your my second mentor. Your reviews are just SO good.

Haley said...

oh now i want to read it... :D that's a good thing ;)

haley mathiot at yahoo dot com

holdenj said...

What a moving review. Must be Maynard at her best, yes?

I would love to win!

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

MJ said...

I'd love to read this.


Natalie W said...

Sounds like an awesome read. Would love to enter,

Beth F said...

I have this in my TBR and I really, really want to read it. I like her writing style too.

Mom of 5 Boys said...

I would love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

Michelle said...

This sounds so great! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :)

Michelle said...

Oh, I totally missed that contest part. I would LOVE to enter.


Thanks! :D

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks!
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Great review! I also recently finished reading this book, so I won't enter the contest for a giveaway. But, like you, I LOVED it. But then, I always enjoy Joyce Maynard's books. She can't write them quickly enough to satisfy me!

Jessica (BookLover) said...

This book sounds so good!
Please enter me.


Anonymous said...

Hi, please enter me in the giveaway! I would love to own this book!


Veens said...

SOunds Awesome! The story is very very touching!
Enter me for the contest Nely and thank you for making it International :)
givingreadingachance AT gmail.com

Theresa N. said...

Sign me up it sounds like a great read.
Theresa N

Glenn said...

Sounds like a great story - your review was great and makes me want to check this book out. Thanks for the giveaway.

glenn_pessano AT yahoo DOT com

Vanessa Book ♥ Soulmates said...

What a great book to read this weekend! :)


Nina said...

Hi, i so want to read this one!
My email: nina.happyendings@yahoo.co.uk

Virginia said...

This story sounds lovely. Please enter my name in your drawing. I subscribe. gcwhisks at aol dot com

Sue said...

I'd love your gently read book! Thanks for sharing it.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Misusedinnocence said...

I would love to read this! :)

Sandee61 said...

I would really love to read this book. Please enter my name in your giveaway. Thank you!



Karen H in NC said...

This is the first I've heard of this book. Count me in the draw please!

kkhaas AT bellsouth DOT net

Froggy said...

I would love to read this!


CDR said...

This looks like an excellent read, would love to read this.


Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

What a BEAUTIFUL review, I'd really love to read this book :) That is very kind of you to share your copy! I love to share my books, too.

Thanks for the chance to win~

kalea_kane said...

This really looks incredible. I have not read any reviews until yours, and I promptly put this on my TBR/Wish List (Christmas is coming afterall). Please enter me in the giveaway for your ARC, but either way, rest assured your glowing report has definitely convinced me that this is a must read. :)


heatherzilla said...

Sounds good! Please include me in the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Please include me in the giveaway!



Mary said...

I have the book so I don't want to enter the giveaway. Just want to say "great review!". Also, a question: why do you think Joyce Maynard didn't use quotation marks???

I liked the book and really appreciated how she wrapped things up. Made me glad I read it!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Mary: I think the absence of quotation marks made it feel like it was written from a child's perspective. I wonder if that's why she did it.

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