Trip Through Your Wires: A Book Review

Twenty-eight year old Carey Halpern should be in the prime of her life.  Late twenties, single with no children, she should be living it up, right?  However, life isn’t so easy for Carey, who is in between jobs, living with her parents, and struggling to crawl out a pit of despair.  Trip Through Your Wires by Indiana author Sarah Layden takes us on a difficult and mysterious journey through Carey’s past in order to help her come to terms with the murder of someone she loved.

Trip Through Your Wires

Carey Halpern seems like the average college student.  She is home for the summer and hanging out at the mall with her old high school girlfriend when she spots Ben tossing pizzas in the air at a pizza shop in the food court.  Ben is also a college student, spending the summer at home in between semesters at a study abroad program in Guanajuato, Mexico.  Rather than introduce herself, Carey takes a different and much more dramatic approach when she decides to enroll in the same study abroad program.  When Carey arrives in Mexico, she finds herself face to face with Ben, who has no reason to believe that they should know each other.  Carey decides to keep her motives to herself and pursues Ben with such intensity that she loses all sight of her immersive education.

Fast forward several years to a Mexican restaurant in her hometown of Indianapolis.  Carey is at her own parting lunch, as her temporary secretarial position has ended.  While eating, Carey sees a brief news segment that new features details of Ben’s mysterious murder, which took place during their fateful year abroad.  As this new information emerges, Carey is forced to reexamine her past in order to move beyond her dismal presence.

I enjoy reading and supporting local authors.  That is one of the things that attracted me to Trip Through Your Wires while visiting Books N’ Brews in Indianapolis a few months ago.  Also, as a high school student, I visited Mexico for a short time as part of an exchange program.  I looked forward to a chance to revisit my experience, if only through the pages of this book.

In what seems to be a common theme among many leading female characters in today’s popular fiction, I found myself struggling to empathize with Carey.  I wanted so badly for her to wake up and see her situation for what it was–a fabrication of a dream that she attempted to create for herself.  Instead, her situation turned into a nightmare that she allows to swallow several years of her life.  Though it was gripping read, I found myself emotionally detached from the characters.  With nothing more than a thread of hope for Carey to overcome, it was little to cling to in a story with rife with seedy characters.

Books with compelling looks into the past

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Call Me Lizzy book review

It’s been far too long since I have written a book review!  I read Call Me Lizzy by Mary T. Wilkinson a few weeks ago while we were in Pittsburgh.  This is a quick middle reader book.  While this book may seem like a short, easy read, it delves deep into matters of bullying, faith, and family.

Call Me Lizzy book review


Before I begin, I should note that the author asked me to review this book.  However, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.  Lizzy is a ten year old girl living in Indianapolis in 1966.  At the beginning of the story, Lizzy lives with her mom and her dad.  Her young parents have a tumultuous relationship, fueled by immaturity and alcohol.  Lizzy spends a great deal of time with her paternal grandparents who love her fiercely, despite some of their own eccentricities.  Lizzy tags along with her grandparents to the American Legion, where they spend a great deal of their time playing bingo and socializing.  When her parents decide to divorce, a judge determines that Lizz would be best off living with her grandparents in Tennessee, whom she has never met.

When Lizzy arrives in Tennessee, her world is turned upside down.  She meets her grandparents and very large extended family, all of who are extremely religious.  Lizzy had never been to church in Indiana, and her grandparent’s church is unlike anything she has ever heard of.  The women and girls grow their hair long, wear dresses to their ankles, and heavy black stockings.  Her grandfather is the preacher of their little country church, where weeklong revivals are a yearly tradition.

As different as her new life is on her grandparent’s farm, Lizzy manages to fit in and adapt to her surroundings.  Lizzy enrolls in school and dons her new church’s uniform of long dresses and stockings.  She becomes fast friends with one of her cousins, who is in the same grade as Lizzy at school.  Together they endure the harassment doled out by a local bully.

As the story progresses, Lizzy’s faith is challenged time and again.  Through all of her heartaches, Lizzy comes to realize that with faith and family there is no obstacle too great to overcome.

While the story takes place over the course of just one year, I feel that it qualifies as a coming of age story.  Lizzy experiences so many changes in a short period time that force her to grow and adapt.  When we leave Lizzy at the end of the novel, there is a real sense that she is older and wiser.  Though this book can be enjoyed at any age, I would recommend it for middle readers in grades 5-8.

You may also enjoy:

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Moon Over Manifest