Golden State by Stephanie Kegan

16130601 Golden State by Stephanie Kegan

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases on 2/17/15.

I already had a lot of books to review for February, but the summary and comparisons for this book really caught my eye.  It says it is good for fans of Jodi PIcoult and it is a ripped-from-the-headlines type story, which I usually enjoy.  This book is about a woman named Natalie and her family; both her husband and children and her mother, brother, and sister.  Growing up, everyone knew her brother, Bobby, was a little bit different, but he was brilliant…we’re talking went to Princeton at age 16 kind of brilliant. However, for the past several years, he has become withdrawn and lives in a remote “cabin” (if you can even call it that), and does not communicate with his family or much of anyone else.  He has ranted many times about his deceased father, a politician, and how technology is destroying our world. During this time, bombings have been occurring on the campuses of universities in California.  The Cal-bomber has released a manifesto about his feelings on technology, which Natalie realizes sound, shockingly, like something her brother has written to their mother.  She begins to worry that he may be involved in the bombings and feels she has no choice but to do something about it.  While he is being investigated, we see the devastating effects that the situation has on Natalie’s own family, along with her mother and sister.  Much of the story is centered around how tough it is for Natalie to feel the guilt of accusing her own brother of such heinous crimes, but it does not feel too overdone or repetitive.  We see how media attention can rip a family apart, which is something we hear about all the time. As the investigation and trial are taking place, Natalie is able to uncover some things about her childhood and family growing up that she did not know.  She is also faced with the tough decision of whether to help her brother during trial or sit back and do nothing.  This is an emotional and interesting story that did remind me of something Jodi Picoult would write (though I hate making these kinds of comparisons), so it was something I enjoyed. It makes you think about what you would do in Natalie’s situation. I have purchased this title for my library, mainly for staff members, but I can see some of my students enjoying it if I can get them to give it a chance.

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