Laura: a teenage girl struggling to fit into her small, sleepy town in upstate New York, slowly drifting away from reality and into the secret life she inhabits online. Paul: a twentysomething wannabe rock star, back home from New York City, broke and jobless, living with his mother. April: a math teacher with two kids, running her church’s Vacation Bible School, discontent with another summer planning crafts and regurgitating verses. Ben: a boy stuck at VBS, still adjusting to the presence of his foster brother, DeShawn, a quiet, brooding kid from Brooklyn.
Over the course of one summer, these characters’ paths will collide in surprising, often hilarious ways. Encompassing questions of identity, religion, race, and family, Another Life is an absorbing and thought-provoking debut about the line we all walk between desire and responsibility.
Haller's debut is a fast-moving ensemble story of an emotionally turbulent summer in a small town, where hormonal teenagers attend a close-knit Vacation Bible School at New Life evangelical church. In Grover Falls, N.Y., 15-year-old Laura Swanson has secretly begun an online relationship with a middle-aged man; her best friend, Bethany, has become attached to someone new; and Laura's divorced mother, April, has been behaving strangely. Meanwhile, the handsome, brooding musician Paul Frazier has returned to town after finishing college. He's put off by his mother's unexpected attachment to the New Life Center, but he begrudgingly agrees to work there as the sound mixer for the worship band. The lives of the children and adults intersect in different ways April has an affair with a younger man, while Laura sets up an in-person meeting with the man she's been talking to online in and out of the church, throughout a summer spent discovering secrets of lifelong friends and adjusting to new interlopers. Haller's engaging story skillfully portrays how different generations grapple with faith, as well as the temptations of substance use and sexual exploration.