Empress of Idaho
Bestselling and award-winning author Todd Babiak returns with an immersive and affecting story about a teenager's fascination with an enigmatic new woman in town whose past is catching up with her.
Summer 1989. Fourteen-year-old Adam Lisinski has a lot going for him in Monument, Colorado. He's hoping to be a starter on his high school football team, even though he's only a sophomore. He has a part-time job at Eugene's Gas Stop where he works with his best friend, Simon Kinoro. He'd like to see his girlfriend, Phoebe Brandt, more if he could, but he makes do with time alone at Monument Lake after her ballet lessons. He and his mother, Helen, have a close relationship, but Adam knows she worries.
And then Beatrice Cyr comes to town. From the second she steps out of his neighbour Marv Walker's truck, Adam is mesmerized. He neglects everything that matters to him and he's desperate to be around her, even if he's confused about what she wants or where she comes from. He begins to find himself alone with Beatrice--in the change room at Modern You, the clothing store on Second Street, at the Chapel Hill Cinema, in Marv's truck--and Adam is soon lying to everyone he cares about. And when Beatrice convinces Helen to quit her job to partner in an ambitious real estate venture, the stakes get higher until Adam is forced to make an impossible choice.
Riveting, emotionally complex, and sparkling with moments of compassion and humour, The Empress of Idaho is a story about loyalty, friendship, and the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence. It's a poignant, unforgettable portrait of a boy's difficult coming-of-age.
McClelland & Stewart, 2019
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