Summary: While attending the funeral of her despised great aunt, Roxy’s mother receives a phone call about her estranged father. He’s in a coma, and because her mother is completely overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with him, she sends Roxy in her place to Greece to sort things out. Just before she leaves however, Roxy gets some life-altering news herself. Arriving in Greece reveals a web of secrets and lies hiding the truth about her family’s history, as well as a connection to the land and a different kind of life. As Roxy uncovers the truth behind the lies, she also falls in love and decides what to do about her own situation.
Number of Pages: 190
Age Range: 15-17
Review: Growing up believing her mother is dead and her father has completely abandoned her to the care of a cold and bitter relative, Roxy’s mom has not had the best start in life. Her daughter Roxy is the only one who has stood by her over the years, and when faced with contact with a father she believes cares little about her, Roxy is willing to take her mother’s place to travel halfway across the world and deal with the family drama.
Except the drama is greater than Roxy ever could have imagined. Her long-lost grandfather is a writer composing his memoirs and recovering from a failed suicide attempt. Secrets abound about their family history, complicating her grandfather’s upcoming marriage as the local priest has questions.
Meanwhile, Roxy is about to add another branch to their family tree. But before she moves their family forward, she has plenty of unanswered questions about their past. When all of the hurt her mother suffered because of her absent parents turns out to be a mixture of lies and misunderstandings, Roxy is the one who ultimately acts as a stabilising force to support her mother as she faces the truth.
Roxy herself is spirited and persistent, pursuing honest answers to help her make her own decisions for the future. I enjoyed the conflict between her and her grandfather, as her grandfather is a story-teller who is blocked on telling the story of himself. His resistance may slow Roxy down, but she is determined to find out what he is hiding in the end.
A combination of mystery, romance and a journey to self-awareness, Roxy explores the role of family history in providing identity and the roots to ground impending generations.
“‘Your grandfather is clever like that, always writing his own story in disguise.’
‘Isn’t a novel supposed to be fiction?’
‘The best literature contains a most wonderful code, my dear. They may be flights of fancy, yet absolutely true in the way the characters make you feel. A good character can make you feel like crying for forgiveness for your own sins. Your grandfather has made his readers cry many times.'” – Conversation between Oscar and Roxy from Roxy by PJ Reece, pages 30-31
“Crying, of all things, and after knowing for a week already. I hated myself for acting like such a wuss. He handed me a box of tissues.
‘It is perfectly natural,’ he said. ‘Look where you are, in a doctor’s office.’
‘Does that make it okay?’
‘A patient comes in here to be examined, yes? And sometimes their soul becomes naked too.'” – Conversation between Roxy and Dr. Vassilakis from Roxy by PJ Reece, page 86
“I gave her the rest of the chips, and soon we were laughing, she through her tears, and that’s when I realized what was important in life: sharing your love and whatever else you’ve got. Chips. Sadness. Hopes. Dreams. It didn’t matter that little love-fests like that were rare: a person remembers. That little picnic of truth sustained me for years.” – Roxy from Roxy by PJ Reece, page 106