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April & Oliver    by Tess Callahan order for
April & Oliver
by Tess Callahan
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

April's teenage brother Buddy died in a car crash while driving her car. She feels guilty and cannot accept his death. With both her parents gone, April cannot lean on her grandmother as she is in poor health and has not been told of Buddy's death. April's childhood friend Oliver is back in town and knows where to find her. She is at the grave site, late at night, alone and upset. When April and Oliver were growing up they were inseparable. Life happened and the years kept them apart, but now Oliver is here for her.

Oliver has been attending law school, while April has been working at a bar. He is engaged to be married to Bernadette, a beautiful young woman who teaches mentally challenged children. April is involved with an older man, who is abusive to her, but she hangs in and accepts his rage and fists. April and Oliver are opposites. April is headstrong and reckless, while Oliver is reliable and responsible. Once again Oliver finds himself attracted to April, and April feels the same for Oliver. But she truly likes Bernadette and does not want to hurt her.

Oliver begins to find his life unraveling and Bernadette can read the signs. She thinks Oliver will make the right decision, but he has a secret he has never shared with anyone but April. As Oliver tries to help April regain her life he uncovers family secrets from April's past that have him wondering if love is enough.

April & Oliver is Callahan's debut novel. It is a complex story of love, loss and family. The characters are so flawed you feel their pain. The story keeps you reading hoping for a happy ending.

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