The Lifeguards By Amanda Eyre Ward

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The Lifeguards: A Novel By Amanda Eyre Ward

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Book/Novel Author: Amanda Eyre Ward

Book/Novel Title: The Lifeguards

 

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“A book that is at once riveting and relevant as it unpeels the various meanings of motherhood, family, and loyalty. I tore through it.”—Miranda Cowley Heller, author of The Paper Palace   The bonds between three picture-perfect—but viciously protective—mothers and their close-knit sons are tested during one unforgettable summer in a gripping novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Jetsetters. Austin’s Zilker Park neighborhood is a wonderland of greenbelt trails, live music, and moms who drink a few too many margaritas. Whitney, Annette, and Liza have grown thick as thieves as they have raised their children together for fifteen years, believing that they can shelter them their children from an increasingly dangerous world. Their friendship is unbreakable—as safe as the neighborhood where they’ve raised their sweet little boys.Or so they think. One night, the three women have been enjoying happy hour when their boys, lifeguards for the summer, come back on bicycles from a late-night dip in their favorite swimming hole. The boys share a secret—news that will shatter the perfect world their mothers have so painstakingly created.   Combining three mothers’ points of view in a powerful narrative tale with commentary from entertaining neighborhood listservs, secret text messages, and police reports, The Lifeguards is both a story about the secrets we tell to protect the ones we love and a riveting novel of suspense filled with half-truths and betrayals, fierce love and complicated friendships, and the loss of innocence on one hot summer night.
This book started off great and has a nice quick pace with short chapters. A pretty good beach/pool read.I liked it except the ending was abrupt. I felt like it could have had at least 3-6 more chapters at the end to dive into the consequences/ explainations for each character. Definitely missing the end of the story!
“The lifeguards” follows 3 teen boys; Charlie, Xavier, and Robert “Bobcat”, and their clique of mothers; Liza, Whitney, and Annette. One night the boys find a body on the green belt in their neighborhood, and an investigation ensues to uncover what happened to the young woman. It’s clear that the boys were somehow involved, but how much do they know?Overall, this book was truly a page turner; I was interested from the moment I started reading. I finished the book in about a day. I was constantly changing my theory and wanting to know what really happened on that night. It is, for the most part, a well done story. However, I was a little frustrated by the ending. I feel like it was very fast and left many questions unanswered, and a lot of loose ends. For example, why was the creepy nanny given such a long introduction when nothing ever came of that storyline? Did Liza ever find her mom and sister? What happened with Annette? Maybe more pressingly, what happened to Whitney, and Roma? And Louis & Jules? The fate of pretty much every character is left a big mystery at the end, and it made the story feel unfinished. The story was slow at times, diving super deep into each of the mothers’ pasts, but then rushed to an ending.
I really enjoyed the Texas setting because I just moved from Dallas, and always wanted to visit Austin, but didn’t get the chance to. I loved the complex relationships between the three mothers: Whitney, Annette, and Liza. I also loved how they met at a prenatal class 15yrs ago and now their sons are all best friends. The Lifeguards touched on many different issues: competition between friends, wealthy privilege, and how mothers will do anything to protect their children. This book was addictive with all the twists and turns. The characters were unforgettable and the ending was unexpected! I was wanting more at the end of this book!
I just finished this book as a copy I picked up digitally from the library. I have lived in Austin since 2010 and am always curious about books set in the area (see also Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me). The setting of this book is immersive and accurate which is to be expected as the author is a local. We learn of three mother’s in the Barton Hills neighborhood who have raised their sons together since birth. While the mother’s have secrets of their own and are perhaps pretending to be people they are not, they deal with it in different ways when their boys find themselves in the midst of a crime.While I definitely could relate to some of the characters (Liza especially but also Annette) the ending felt a bit rushed for me and I could have used a little bit more time fleshing out some of the other character’s motivations. I feel that some things were alluded to that could have been a little bit more concretely spelled out. Surprisingly I did enjoy the somewhat epistolary breaks in the novel in the form of neighborhood message boards and text streams. All in all an enjoyable bit of brain candy with a bit of a mystery I didn’t have to think too hard about. Four stars.
Twisty tale told from multiple POVs. Whitney, Annette, and Liza have been friends for 16 years, and live in a nice neighborhood in Austin, TX. Their 3 sons are all lifeguards at the neighborhood pool and are close friends. When they stumble home one night, they tell their moms that they found a woman dead on the greenbelt.Liza, a single mother, has done everything she can to protect her son Charlie from dangers, esp. his father, Patrick, an addict. Whitney, a successful realtor, married to Jules, has 2 children, Roma and Xavier. Xavier is frightened of Roma, saying she is evil. Annette, married to Louis, is attracted to her boss, and wants to protect her son Robert. His father is overbearing.These women will do what it takes to protect their children. Interesting to hear the true story around the woman’s death, who did it, and why.
Amanda Eyre Ward’s The Lifeguards is a tightly written summer mystery. Telling the tales of three families over one summer, when their three boys are 15 and lifeguards for the local swimming hole. Secrets are revealed behind closed doors and each of the families use the summer to re-evaluate just how far you would go to protect your children, while also saving appearances in the neighborhood.As a follow up novel to Ward’s The Jetsetters (a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick) this mystery novel is very enjoyable and a easy way to usher your way into the summer months.Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for my opportunity to read this novel.

 

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