Growing up in hard-scrabble coal country with a drunk father and a runaway mother hasn't been easy for teen brothers Kyle and Klint. And when their dad smashes his truck and dies after a few too many beers, the boys are shocked that their often-absent mother plans to take them back to her new home out West. After all, their mom hasn't cared for Kyle and Klint for years.
She still doesn't. Their mom quickly hands the boys over to 75-year-old Candace Jack, a curmudgeon with an acidic tongue who surprises herself in agreeing to take the boys.
Living together isn't easy, but the boys discover that Candace has a tragic, passionate past and the three discarded souls help each other to heal.
With Tawni O'Dell's trademark tenderness, vivid sense of place, and complex characters, Fragile Beasts is a beautifully crafted novel told from two very different points of view: a fourteen-year-old boy's and a seventy-five-year-old woman's.
It's a wonderfully touching novel with two fascinating narrators who will wholly capture readers' hearts.
Tawni O'Dell was born and raised in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania, where she lives with her family: a daughter, 13, and a son, 10. Fragile Beasts is her fourth novel. Her first, Back Roads, was an Oprah Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller, her second, Coal Run, has been bought by the movies and is currently in development.