Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Just Get Home

Just Get  Home
  Just Get Home
Author:  Bridget Foley
Publication Information:  MIRA. 2021. 352 pages.
ISBN:  0778331598 / 978-0778331599

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley and the Winter 2021 mystery/thriller from Harlequin Trade Publishing free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Assist the client in gathering possessions."

Favorite Quote:  "Before you say you can't do something, think of what would happen if you didn't have any choice."

***** BLOG TOUR *****


Disaster strikes. The big California earthquake happens. Many die. Many are hurt. Many are left stranded. All of a sudden, Los Angeles is thrust into a post-apocalyptic world. This is a world that brings out the best and the worst in people. Some help each other. Some look out only for themselves. Some take advantage, reverting to the worst of mankind's behavior. "The earthquake isn't the real disaster ... The disaster is what happens after."

At the heart of this story are Dessa and Beegie. Dessa is a single parent out for a rare night out with a friend. Her three year old daughter Olivia is home with the babysitter. When the earthquake strikes, Dessa has one goal. "All that mattered was now. Her feet. Moving forward. Just. Get. Home."

Beegie is a teenager who has bounced from home to home in the foster care system. Unfortunately, most of the placements have not been a kind family environment. Some have been abusive. Her life has been one in which trust, love, and safety have been lacking. "Beegie though maybe the reason she liked scary things - movies, books, stories, whatever - was that at the end of most of them the monster was defeated. That was how the stories would go; everything was good, then a monster came, then the monster was defeated, and then everything was good again. That wasn't how things were in real life though. In real life, people live with their monsters. In real life the monster didn't come ... in real life the monster was already there." Trigger warning:  The "monsters" in Beegie's life lead to abuse and rape. She is fifteen years old.

Circumstances bring Dessa and Beegie together. Choice keeps them together. At first, Dessa tries to atone for the fact that she witnessed an assault and did nothing to stop it. That sense of responsibility makes her reach out to Beegie. For both, staying together is also the practical choice. Two is better than one in an environment that is becoming increasingly hostile.

It becomes a journey of the road. It also becomes a story of this relationship that begins to develop. Will Beegie learn to trust an adult in her life? Will Dessa be someone else who betrays Beegie? This relationship and the characters shine in this book because in the middle of this post-apocalyptic scene that is prefaced by a life of abuse, a story of love and the family we choose emerges. Both Dessa and Beegie  have been betrayed. Both bring the scars of their lives. It is fascinating to see them struggle with their own challenges and the impact that has on how they deal with each other. It is lovely to see that glimmer of trust emerge. There is no promise of a future, but a belief in it emerges regardless.

Choices are made, and I am not sure how they are going to turn out. However, by that point, I am invested enough in the characters to hope that they make the "right" ones. That keeps me reading until the very last page.

About the Author

Originally from Colorado, Bridget Foley attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and UCLA's School of Theater, Film & Television. She worked as an actor and screenwriter before becoming a novelist. She now lives a fiercely creative life with her family in Boise, Idaho.

About the Book

When the Big One earthquake hits LA, a single mother and a teen in the foster system are brought together by their circumstances and an act of violence in order to survive the wrecked streets of the city, working together to just get home.

Dessa, a single mom, is enjoying a rare night out when a devastating earthquake strikes. Roads and overpasses crumble, cell towers are out everywhere, and now she must cross the ruined city to get back to her three-year-old daughter, not even knowing whether she's dead or alive. Danger in the streets escalates, as looting and lawlessness erupts. When she witnesses a moment of violence but isn't able to intervene, it nearly puts Dessa over the edge.

Fate throws Dessa a curveball when the victim of the crime—a smart-talking 15-year-old foster kid named Beegie—shows up again in the role of savior, linking the pair together. Beegie is a troubled teen with a relentless sense of humor and resilient spirit that enables them both to survive. Both women learn to rely on each other in ways they never imagined possible, to permit vulnerability and embrace the truth of their own lives.

A propulsive page-turner grounded by unforgettable characters and a deep emotional core, JUST GET HOME will strike a chord with mainstream thriller readers for its legitimately heart-pounding action scenes, and with book club audiences looking for weighty, challenging content.

Q&A with Bridget Foley

How much research do you do before beginning to write a book? Do you go to locations, ride with police, go to see an autopsy, etc.
It depends on the story – research is one of my favorite parts of writing! For JUST GET HOME, I’d lived in Los Angeles for over a decade so I was pretty familiar with the locations… but I needed to do a lot of research into the foster care system as well as first hand accounts of earthquakes.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
Weightlifting, Walking and Water coloring -- probably because they’re all things I can do while listening to audio books!

Do you write under one name for all books across genres or do you have other AKA's?
Just the one name.

Do you have pets?
My dear sweet dog passed away at the age of 14 at the end of 2019. I was advised to wait a month for every year we had her before getting a new companion. It’s odd, because while I missed her I didn’t long for another pet at all for that time… and then suddenly after 14 months I went dog crazy. It got to the point where I was slowing the car down to tell people walking their dogs how cute and fluffy their pups were. My children were mortified. So, no, we don’t have a new pup yet, but I feel sure it will happen soon.

What’s your favorite part of writing suspense?
I’m an outliner, which I prefer because it means I get to use an entirely different part of my brain once I get to the drafting process. Since by then the heavy lifting of plot is done, I can fully immerse myself in the experience of the characters - which means I spend a lot of time holding my breath and sweating in my writing chair.

Do you prefer reading and/or writing suspense with elements of romance? Why or why not?
I adore a good love story… but I haven’t cracked my version of one yet. My first novel HUGO & ROSE was a subversion of the ‘man of your dreams’ trope, so I suppose there were elements of romance in the book but not in the expected ways. JUST GET HOME is filled with desperate, aching love, but none of it is the romantic kind.

From the books you’ve written or read, who has been your favorite villain and why?
I’ve found in life that most people are their own villains. There is usually no shadowy figure pulling the strings or arch enemy subverting plans - for many of us, when our lives go awry, we ourselves are personally responsible for whatever choices that led us there. Obviously that’s not always the case in life or in fiction, but as a writer I’m most creatively interested in characters who are grappling with their internal villains rather than an externalized source. So I suppose the answer is that my favorite villains are also my favorite heroes.
Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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