Featured Author: Lara Avery
The Year of Second Chances by Lara Avery is a tender exploration of grief and renewal, with laugh out loud scenes and a lead character you’ll cheer for from beginning to end. The story follows Robin, a young widow who is grieving the loss of her husband. She feels lost, lonely and so very sad.
On the one-year anniversary of her husband's death, Robin receives an email from him expressing his wish that she put herself out there and maybe even find love again. To make it easier for her to get started, he signed her up for a year with a dating app, paid in advance.
Robin isn’t really ready, but she wants to honor his wish, so she decides to give it a real shot. As she meets new people and tries new things, she thinks about what she actually wants from life for the first time in a very long time, and learns how to live for herself again.
Writing an adult novel vs. YA
Lara Avery is the author of three young adult novels. The Year of Second Chances is her first novel for adults. The biggest difference for Avery as a writer was in the perspective of the character driving the story.
“Teenage years are tender and volatile,” Avery said. "In that mindset, I am usually writing with a sense of ping-ponging certainty and uncertainty. Writing an adult comes with the same amount of uncertainty but with a lot more responsibilities, and (I find) the more responsibilities we have, the more we get convinced that these obligations make up who we are. So when I'm writing these emotional scenes, there's a lot less ping-ponging from one conclusion to the next, but so many deeper ruts to get out of. Robin, for example, has formed such a solid idea of who she is over so many years (and most people around her affirm that identity), it takes her world being turned upside down for her to start asking herself what she really wants out of life.”
Avery set out to tell a story that would honor the grief that comes with losing an intimate partner. She has not personally experienced this so she did a lot of research before she started writing. Avery read memoirs, blogs and novels written by widows, and she also sat down with a young widow she knows to hear her heartbreaking story. Gradually Avery began to see a clearer picture of how the early death of a life partner could impact the one left behind.
"I began to see that young widowhood has as many different shades as there are people,” Avery said. “Everyone has to go through terrible sadness and loneliness, yes, but I also learned about the kind of beautiful bonds that form around the absence of someone; the overwhelming surreality and spectacle of this whole new life all of the sudden; and yes, even the humor, which mostly arises out of the ways that everything about this kind of grief upends your expectations and plans. There is no one way to grieve, and learning that gave me the confidence to take what I'd absorbed and make Robin's grief all her own, one that has many textures and phases.”
Meet Lara Avery at the Library
Lara Avery will join us on Feb 11 for a Galentine’s Day Book Chat & Love Letters! Discover uplifting reads about friendship, romance and valuing ourselves, enjoy a snack, and create thoughtful Valentines notes to share with your loved ones. Bring a friend to join in the fun.