9780451239877

HOUSE OF WONDER

Sarah Healy

When we were little and I needed Warren, I would rub my earlobe. And perhaps it was the alchemy of childhood, a magic that happened because I believed it could, but I swear it worked. He always came.

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood.

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When we were little and I needed Warren, I would rub my earlobe. And perhaps it was the alchemy of childhood, a magic that happened because I believed it could, but I swear it worked. He always came.

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood. Jenna Parsons’s childhood was one of block parties and barbecues, where her mother, a former beauty queen, continued her reign and her twin brother, Warren, was viewed as just another oddball kid. But as her mother’s shopaholic habits intensified, and her brother’s behavior became viewed as more strange than quirky, Jenna sought to distance herself from them. She is devoted to her career and her four-year-old daughter, Rose. But now, in his peculiar way, Warren summons her back to 62 Royal Court.

What she finds there—a house in disrepair, a neighborhood on tenterhooks over a rash of petty thefts, and evidence of past traumas her mother has kept hidden—will challenge Jenna as never before. But as she stands by her family, she also begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined.

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Paperback

Price: $15.00

ISBN: 9780451239877

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About Sarah Healy

Sarah Healy lives with her husband and three sons in Vermont, where she works in marketing consultancy. She is the author of two novels: Can I Get an Amen? and House of Wonder.

Praise

With keen insight and rare emotional truth, Sarah Healy hits every mark with House of Wonder. It’s funny, sad, hopeful, and heartbreaking and filled with characters that stick with you and make you care. If you’ve ever known an outsider or an oddball—or been one—this is a novel for you.” —Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors and Sellevision

An emotionally gripping tale of love, loss, and the universal convolutions of family. [Healy] paints her characters into life until you feel as if you’ve known them forever. I savored every delicious subtlety.” —Emily Liebert, author of You Knew Me When

Shows how family ties tend to worm their way from matters of obligation to matters of the heart, quickly and completely. The delicious dips into family history and the complex relationships in this book are as lovely as they are deep.” Jennifer Scott, author of The Sister Season and The Accidental Book Club

Discussion Questions

What did you most enjoy about House of Wonder?

The novel opens with Jenna returning to her family home after having avoided it for a number of years. What do you think draws her back? Did you, or other members of your family, go through a period of moving away from the family home and then returning to it?

Jenn’s twin brother Warren is treated differently as an adult than as a child. Why is that? Was there someone like Warren where you grew up? How was he treated? Would he be treated differently today?

Warren notices things that other people miss. Discuss what they are and perhaps why he sees them while others do not.

In some ways, Warren is the facilitator of the story. Why do you think he’s the one who brings Jenna home? What role does he play in Jenna’s growth throughout the novel?

Is Priscilla exploited by the beauty pageants she participates in, or do they provide an opportunity for her to widen her prospects and fulfill her talents?

Discuss how Priscilla’s upbringing, and the major events in her life since then, have made her the woman she is today.

Why does Priscilla keep secret her mother’s history, and why does she finally share it with Jenna? Does revealing the truth change their mother/daughter relationship, or each of them individually?

How is Jenna’s relationship with Bobby Vanni shaped by their history together, as kids in the neighborhood and then as teenagers? How might their relationship be different if they didn’t have that shared past?

Bobby was Jenna’s high school crush. Did you ever encounter your high school crush many years later? What did you learn about him? What kind of new relationship did you develop?

What changes does Jenna notice in the neighborhood she grew up in? Discuss the changes to your own neighborhood over the years. What factors do you think influence the identity of a neighborhood?

The novel suggests that Priscilla’s need to buy and keep “stuff” arises from the emotional void she suffered from as a child, which has never fully healed. What role might our consumer-oriented society also play in her compulsion?

The thefts in the neighborhood create tension among the neighbors, and some people jump to the conclusion that Warren is guilty. Can you recall an incident from your own life when someone was unjustly accused? What was the outcome?

What do you think you’ll take away from having read the novel? What will leave the most long-lasting impression?