This #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “spine-chilling thriller that blurs the lines of fact and fiction” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author) The Elizas weaves a compelling novel that follows a young woman as she explores how much our genetics influence our future.
Summer Davis’s deep love for science is the only thing that helps her get through her turbulent journey from adolescent to adulthood. Her mother has abandoned her family, her father’s mental illness has overwhelmed him, and her older brother fluctuates between sudden rage and unpredictable tenderness. Summer can’t help but question the role of genetics in her life and if she is destined to continue her family’s legacy of mental instability.
But when she decides to put off a promising science career to take care of her great-aunt Stella—the bedrock of the family and bastion of folksy wisdom, irreverent insight, and Sinatra memorabilia in a less-than-scenic part of the Pennsylvanian countryside—she begins to learn that maybe her DNA doesn’t have to define her and that her future belongs to her alone.
From the backwoods of Pennsylvania to the brownstones of Brooklyn Heights, The Visibles investigates the secrets of the past, and the hidden corners of our own hearts, to find out whether real happiness is a gift or a choice.
In her tightly constructed and captivating first adult novel, bestselling YA author Shepard (the Pretty Little Liars series) explores a family's biological and emotional interconnectedness for better or for worse. When 15-year-old Summer Davis is told by a substitute biology teacher that "DNA makes up everything inside you," and that "nothing else matters... you can't escape your parents and they can't escape you," the silken threads that she imagines link her to her vanished mother become something more like shackles and chains as her mentally ill father's slow decay continues and eventually lands him in an institution. Summer clings to the hope that her father will get better while simultaneously experimenting with ways to escape the gloomy life she's inherited; her path eventually leads to the genetics lab at NYU, but the opportunity to pursue her own dreams is undermined by her father, whose deeply hidden secrets begin to trickle out and eat away at the family's foundation. It's complicated, rewarding and full of heart, and Shepard creates a rich reading experience in shying from simple answers and happy endings.