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Finding an author whose work you have never read before, and discovering that you really enjoy his/her writing style, is a great deal of fun. I had that experience recently when I read If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, the new book from Claire LaZebnik. It is LaZebnik’s fourth novel, and I enjoyed it so much, I plan to read her previous three works, Same as It Never Was, Knitting under the Influence, and The Smart One and the Pretty One.

Welcome to the Crazy Book Tour for If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now

Synopsis:

Noah is six years old, and small for his age, in part due to the fact that he has celiac disease, an autoimmune deficiency. Noah is painfully aware that he is not good at sports, and he really doesn’t have any friends at his exclusive, private school, Fenwick, on the posh west side of Los Angeles. Noah complains to his mother that the coach made his physical education class spend an entire period running up and down the school’s stairs, and when he tried to convince the coach that he could run no longer, the coach refused to let him rest. So he relates how he crawled up and down the stairs while the bigger, strong boys kicked him — with the coach’s tacit approval.

Noah’s mother, Rickie, feels that she must address this latest indignation suffered by her son. Rickie is 25 years old, single, and living with her parents, sleeping in the bedroom she slept in while growing up. Noah sleeps on the bottom mattress of the trundle bed her mother bought Rickie when she was a girl. Rickie and her half-sister, Melanie, both attended Fenwick, and her parents are paying Noah’s tuition. Rickie does not have a job, but dabbles at furthering her own education, sporadically enrolling in, but not focusing upon, college courses.

Melanie has also moved back home, after discovering that her husband, Gabriel, was unfaithful. But rather than disrupt their two children’s lives, she and Gabriel take turns living in their home with the kids for week-long intervals. When Gabriel is with the children, Melanie occupies her old bedroom and tries to keep busy until she is reunited with her kids — who also attend Fenwick.

Rickie’s wardrobe consists of worn-out jeans, t-shirts, and Converse sneakers, accented by various tattoos, as well as nose and eyebrow piercings. Her hair is usually pulled up into a sloppy ponytail and in perpetual need of a color touch-up. Rickie isn’t dating anyone special, but has a secret friend-with-benefits: Ryan, Gabriel’s brother, with whom she hooks up when he briefly returns home from months-long business trips.

But Rickie is overwhelmed by her life: Motherhood is daunting and she frequently acquiesces to Noah’s demands and whining, rather than hold a firm line. She appreciates her parents’ financial and emotional support, but can’t resist lobbing snarky comebacks when her mother tries to offer advice or guidance. And she has made no effort to set up play dates for Noah with the other children or get acquainted with the mothers of Noah’s classmates, all of whom seem to be at least several years older than her, and blond clones of each other who are extremely curious about the scruffy, young tattooed mother of their children’s classmate.

So when Rickie’s mother, who is a member of the Fenwick Board of Directors, flatly refuses to intercede with the school principal, Nickie finds herself back at her alma mater in the principal’s office, face to face with Coach Andrew Fulton. Although she doesn’t realize it at that moment, neither her life nor Noah’s will ever be the same again.

Review:

If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now is populated with characters who could be your neighbors, your family members . . . or you. They are utterly believable, natural, and as exasperatingly endearing as your own relatives. Rickie, Melanie, Noah, and the rest of their family are all well-meaning, truly good people trying to find answers to perplexing questions and navigate the challenges their lives have presented them. They snap at and criticize each other, but there is never any doubt that they are family, inextricably bound together no matter what.

Rickie loves Noah more than anyone or anything in her life, but constantly feels that she sucks as a mother. She forgets to pick Noah up from school, and neglects to make him a gluten-free pizza in plenty of time for him to enjoy dinner with his cousins who do not have special dietary needs. Noah bemoans his mother’s failure to have his meal ready when the other kids’ food is being served, reminding her that she “always does this” and, as a result, he is once again not like the other kids. Rickie can’t argue with him.

Rickie’s lack of attention to her own appearance, as well as her failure to formulate and work toward specific educational and career goals, are a reflection of her inner turmoil. Being a grown-up, especially one responsible for a little person as needy as Noah, is, for Rickie, exhausting and frustrating. She wants nothing more than for Noah to have friends and fit in with the other kids at school, but doesn’t have a clue about how to help him be more confident, assertive, and accomplished — because she has not resolved those same issues for herself.

Coach Andrew turns out to be more than just a gorgeous jock with an equally stunning girlfriend. Although he and Rickie get off to a very difficult start in the principal’s office, Andrew’s genuine interest in Noah allows Rickie to gradually let down her defenses and accept his gracious offer to privately coach Noah every Sunday morning. When Andrew cleverly devises other ways for Noah to succeed at school — and even become somewhat popular — Rickie begins to wonder why she did not notice from the outset how attractive Andrew actually is. But there is the matter of his long-time girlfriend . . . and Andrew can’t even seem to remember her name, habitually referring to her as “Noah’s mother.” Rickie can’t believe that he might truly be interested in her, even when his behavior hints that he might want to be more than Noah’s coach and mentor.

LaZebnik expertly evokes intense emotions from her reader as the story unfolds. Adorable little Noah will break your heart, especially if, like me, you are a mother who has sat in the stands and prayed for your child’s modest success on the field — not a home run, just not a strike-out with the bases loaded! You’ll cheer with Rickie and her mother, and hold your breath along with them, while Noah swings the bat and . . . You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.

Rickie’s self-effacing commentary will ring true with readers who have found themselves asking similar question and making comparable mistakes as parents, and women with sisters will relate to Rickie’s complicated and somewhat conflicted relationship with Melanie.

Andrew is perhaps the most intriguing character of all. Anything but a stereotypical jock, Andrew is slowly revealed by LaZebnik to be a deep thinker who deliberates before making decisions, truly cares about his students and their families, and earnestly believes that he has happened upon a profession that suits him. Whether or not it suits his publicist girlfriend is another matter, however. LaZebnik’s cleverly timed revelation of Andrew as a surprisingly complex character will remind you why your mother cautioned you to “never judge a book by its cover.”

If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now is a thoroughly charming tale about an authentically-crafted family of believable characters told at an easy pace that feels realistic and probable. There are no villains in this story, no conflicts of epic proportions, no headline-grabbing heroes. But there are definitely conflicts and traumas with which average readers can relate, and by the time you turn the last page, you might just believe in heroes, too.

Enter to win a copy of If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home by Now

In conjunction with BlogFest 2010, I am giving one (1) copy of If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now to a lucky Colloquium reader!

To enter, leave a comment. Make sure to include both your Google Friend Connect name and your email address (for notification purposes)! NOTE: You must be a Google Friend Connect follower of Colloquium to be eligible to win!

Bonus Entries:

Leave a separate comment for each bonus entry

  • Follow Colloquium on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter — be sure to leave your Twitter name in the comment
  • Subscribe to Colloquium via RSS or Email and confirm your subscription
  • Click HERE to enter to win a copy of Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire. Be sure to comment on both posts so that I know you entered both giveaways!!
  • Click HERE to enter to win your choice of one (1) of five (5) books I have recently reviewed favorably here at Colloquium. Be sure to comment on both posts so that I know you entered both giveaways!

Books can only be shipped to United States or Canadian addresses (no P.O. boxes).

Entry Deadline:

Sunday, September 12, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time)

The winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, September 13, 2010!

The Grand Giveaway

Don’t forget that every blog you visit and check off the list found at the BlogFest Tracking Site gives you one (1) entry into the Grand Giveaway, a prize package comprised of a collection of books, goodies, and other swag!

What participating blog should you visit next?

Be sure to visit Ashley’s Bookshelf and leave a comment telling her, “JHS at Colloquium sent me!”

I read If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now in conjunction with the 2010 Read ‘n’ Review Challenge.



137 Comments

  1. GFC If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now

    LeAnn
    sunshine9

  2. I would totally love to win. I’m following on GFC as headlessfowl.

    Thanks!

    headlessfowl at jteers dot net

  3. I’m following on twitter with @headlessfowl

    headlessfowl at jteers dot net

  4. GFC follower (Kirsten Thompson). Count me in.
    Thanks for the opportunity 🙂
    kirsten.jason.2010 at gmail dot com

  5. Entered your other Blogfest, one of five books giveaway
    Thanks for the opportunity 🙂
    kirsten.jason.2010 at gmail dot com

  6. GFC follower (through twitter) as VamPoet, I think :-s
    Thanks for the chance in your giveaway!! 😀

  7. Colleen Turner

    This sounds like an awesome book! Please include me in the giveaway.
    I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
    Thanks!
    candc320@gmail.com

  8. Colleen Turner

    I am following on Facebook (Networked Blogs – Colleen Turner).

  9. Colleen Turner

    I entered the Hothouse Flower giveaway.

  10. Colleen Turner

    I entered the choice of 1 of 5 books for Blogfest giveaway.

  11. I follow under none other than Teresa 🙂

    I think this sounds interesting and would love to read it.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

  12. Kristina Barnes

    Thank you for the opportunity to win! I’m a GFC follower (Kristina Barnes)

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

  13. Kristina Barnes

    Follow on Facebook (Kristina Barnes)

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

  14. Kristina Barnes

    Follow on Twitter (@frazzletastic)

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

  15. Kristina Barnes

    Entered to win a copy of Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire (Kristina Barnes)

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

  16. Kristina Barnes

    Entered to win a choice of 5 books for Blogfest

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

  17. please count me in…thanks 🙂
    i’m a follower, too

  18. entered ‘hot house flower and the nine plants of desire’ giveaway, too

  19. I follow on GFC. Thank you for the giveaway

  20. I follow on Twitter – miryfaye. I also forgot to leave my GFC name in the previous comment – Rebekah

  21. Pingback: West Of Mars — Win A Book! » Blog Archive » If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home By Now by Claire LaZebnik

  22. I entered the Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire giveaway

  23. I entered the win your choice of one of five books giveaway

  24. I’m a follower via GFC as audreyclair. Thanks for this great giveaway!

  25. Lora1967

    I am a follower Lora1967
    Thanks for the giveaway

  26. Lora1967

    I am a RSS subscriber Lora Wiedenheft (Lora967)

  27. Lora1967

    I entered another one of your giveaways
    Lora1967

  28. Shantal Mohammed

    Thank you for the giveaway! I’m a new follower on GFC 🙂

    GFC Name: Jixnce

  29. Donna Warrington

    Please include me in your giveaway
    I follow your blog

    Donna

  30. Donna Warrington

    I’m a facebook fan

    Donna Hufman Warrington

  31. Donna Warrington

    I follow you on Twitter as 2Cats2See

    Donna

  32. Donna Warrington

    I entered your Hothouse Flowers giveaway

    Dona

  33. Donna Warrington

    I entered your one of five book that were reviewed giveaway

    Donna

  34. Great giveaway!

    I’m a GFC follower: Vicki

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

  35. I follow you on Facebook: Vicki Newell

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

  36. I follow you on Twitter: ReadAtTheBeach

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

  37. I entered your “Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire” giveaway

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

  38. I’ve entered your “Your choice of 1of 5 books you’ve reviewed” giveaway

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

  39. GFC name: Quynh

    thanks for holding the blogfest

    hi_rubychan @ yahoo.com

  40. I follow on GFC suzquiz

    9oofusATgmailDOTcom

  41. your FB link led me to Network blogs so I signed up there

  42. Kerrie Mayans

    I follow your blog as degood with google friend connect.

  43. Melanie L

    Thanks for the giveaway. I follow on GFC as Melanie L.
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

  44. Melanie L

    I subscribe by email.
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

  45. Melanie L

    I entered the Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire giveaway.
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

  46. Melanie L

    I entered the Choice of 1 of 5 books giveaway.
    peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

  47. This looks like a great book – ty for the giveaway!

    gfc follower (pams00)

    Pam S
    US
    pams00 @ aol.com

  48. Dakota is my gfc name.

    dakotasky55 at gmail dot com

  49. Julie Swaney

    GFC follower — jellybelly82158

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

  50. I am a new GFC follower. Thanks for the entry and have a great weekend.

  51. Stephanie Bruce

    I am a follower

    Thanks for the Giveaway!

    moneycleo @ aol dot com

  52. librarypat

    It has been interesting visiting all the different blogs.

    IF YOU LIVED HERE sounds like it would be a good book.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  53. Cathy Wallace

    I’m a new GFC follower (Cathy Wallace)

  54. requested to be your facebook friend

    petrellinyc-blog at yahoo dot com

  55. Melissa S.

    I’m a new follower via GFC!!!

    Thanks for the chance,
    Melissa S.
    chaoticmommyreviews{@}live.com

  56. Pam Keener

    I am a new follower via GFC/pk490@comcast.net Pam Keener.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam
    pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

  57. Following with GFC now.

    This sounds like a great book–thanks for the giveaway

    book.splot [at] gmail [dot] com

  58. I’m a new GFC follower.

    This book sounds like a good read. I just found out that I am have gluten sensitivity so I’m especially interested.

    Thanks for the contest!

    Emily ebdye1(at)gmail

  59. This sounds like a wonderful book.
    Please enter me in your giveaway!

    I am a GFC follower!

    ~ Amy
    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

  60. Angela McClanahan

    I am a new GFC follower!

    GFC – Angela McClanahan
    angela_mcclanahan at yahoo dot com

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