Chasing Eveline tells a story of a 16 year old girl named Ivy, abandoned by her mother, now being raised by her father – himself, dealing with his own loss and abandonment. But when you’re the parent, you don’t get to quit just because life sucks. She maintains a connection to the love she holds for her mother through her mother’s favorite band from the 80s, Chasing Eveline. All of the songs take her to a place with her mother, one where the memories are fresh and happy and in a place of peace. Along with her friend Matt and another friend named Sean who they pick up along the way, Ivy tries and tries to get the band to reunite for a concert.
Peppered with 80s references to beloved John Hughes movies and popular music, Chasing Eveline was written for young people in 2017 but it was also written for their mothers. We came of age in a time when Bono was simply the hot lead singer of that passionate band from Ireland and Jon Cryer wasn’t the hapless dork with Charlie Sheen or Ashton Kutcher but instead was known for his most excellent shoes and lipsinc-ing the best version of Otis Redding’s Tenderness…ever. And honestly, the best part of this entire book to me was that it was a realistic story told about a teen girl dealing with profound pain and grief – and it didn’t involve sex, drugs, mutilation, and suicide. She was strong in her brokenness. She was resilient. Actually, a wonderful example of how young people can rise above their unfortunate circumstances by finding something other than harmful substances and destructive tendencies to help them through.
This is one of those “Young Adult” novels that anyone can read and relate to, no matter their age. I realize genre exists for a reason, but good stories that touch your heart and feed your soul are beyond all of that. And I would hate to think that women my age wouldn’t think to read Chasing Eveline because it is about high school kids navigating their challenges in life through old music. After all, isn’t that what we do – even way beyond our teenaged years? I can’t imagine traveling through my current state of grief without it being accompanied by music. Music of my lifetime, new music, old music, shared music.
Beautiful first novel by Leslie Hauser! Chasing Eveline releases on July 11th, so reserve your copy today.