‘Leap’ by Z Egloff
Author: Jamie Jones
September 9, 2013
Z Egloff’s novel, Leap (Bywater Books), is not simply a coming of age novel. It is a novel about interpersonal relationships, the quest for the truth, the psychological turmoil brought about by lies and deception, and apprehension about the future. Leap is also about love, not just romantic love, but self-love, familial love, and platonic love.
Set in late 1979, Egloff risked alienating younger readers to some extent with pop culture references and diction that is indicative of the times. However, Egloff’s construction of an engaging story and accessible characters results in a novel that stands to reach a broad audience. It is 18-year-old Rowan Marks’ last summer at home in Wakefield, Ohio before leaving for college at Wellington in Massachusetts. Her plans to spend the summer with her best friend Danny, and working her part-time job at the Sugar Shack with Sherry, the woman who owns the Shack, are thrown off-course. Mike and Catherine, his daughter, arrive in Wakefield to assess the Sugar Shack’s potential to become a part of the AmeriBurger Corporation, and ultimately complicate Sherry and Rowan’s lives. Compounding this for Rowan is her brother, Ben, and his struggles with his emotions and substances. The revelations of various truths leave the characters paradoxically traumatized and empowered.
Though Rowan has her insecurities and often desires to be invisible, others see Rowan as charming and intelligent. She, unlike many others in the small town, is amongst those who will go on to experience new people and places. In the midst of enjoying her last summer of freedom, Rowan finds herself on an unexpected journey of self-exploration while coming to terms with the revelation of several secrets. While on this journey, Rowan finds herself growing apart from her best friend, entering an erotic relationship with a newcomer, and watching the disintegration of her family.
Egloff created an intricately woven coming of age story that appeals to a broad audience. Each of the characters is endearing and accessible to readers, allowing the reader to join the characters on their emotional journeys. The emotional tumult and angst hook the reader, so plan on losing yourself in Rowan’s world for several hours, and carrying her story with you long after you’ve completed the novel.
By Z Egloff
Paperback, 9781612940236, 223 pp.