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The Lauras

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,361 ratings  ·  356 reviews
I didn’t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong.

As we made our way from Virginia to California, returning to the places where she’d lived as a child i
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 4th 2016 by William Heinemann
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,361 ratings  ·  356 reviews

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Angela M
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult review to write in some ways. The main character, Alex is a transgender teen and we never know, even by the end of the book, whether Alex is a boy or a girl, so I can't refer to Alex as he or she so I will say he/she. Actually it really didn't matter because Alex is a person I came to care about exactly as Alex was. But the hard part really was deciding on a rating. I had a problem with the parental judgement of Alex's mother, Ma, who rouses Alex out of bed one night, leavin ...more
3.5 Stars

My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

Thirteen year old, Alex is used to hearing parents fighting at night. Alex could always tell when a fight was coming and would always stay awake until everything calmed down. But everything changes on a night when the fight breaks off midway.

"Get up, Alex. Now"

Alex's mom comes in and pulls Alex right from bed and settles them both into the car with nothing more than the comforter from Alex's bed and the packed b
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. What an odd book The Lauras is. I really liked many parts of it. The story is essentially a road trip told through teenage Alex's voice. Alex -- who we eventually find out does not identify as a boy or girl -- goes on a two year road trip with Alex's mother. Along the way, Alex's mother pieces together her life for Alex. There are many stories spliced together, and separately many of them held my attention. Both Alex and Alex's mother have had more than their fair share of gritty hear ...more
On the Road with Ma: Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist review #1

(I am on the official shadow panel of book bloggers.)

Sara Taylor’s debut, The Shore, was a gritty and virtuosic novel-in-13-stories that imagined 250 years of history on a set of islands off the coast of Virginia. It was one of my favorite books of 2015, and earned Taylor a spot on that year’s Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist as well as the Baileys Prize longlist. Her second book is a whole d
Dash fan
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I started off reading this book however it really wasn't for me. I didn't feel the book was engaging enough and I didn't feel that it kept my attention.
The road trip and enlightenment was a good concept I just felt it went on a bit too long.
Alex was an interesting character not knowing her sexuality kept the reader guessing but I didn't feel it was enough.
I have rated 3 stars due to my own struggle with the storyline.
I wouldn't discourage anyone not to read this book as it is just my personal o
♥ Sandi ❣
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to ♥ Sandi ❣ by: First to Read
Starts as a middle of the night road trip - mother and child are on an adventure. It becomes apparent that the Mother - referred to as Ma throughout the book - is looking to make amends or fulfill promises that she had made in her earlier years and is dragging Alex with her. As the road trip takes them through Florida, Georgia, Nevada, California, and into Vancouver they are engaged in fist-fights, kidnapping, breaking and entering, and arson. And that is just Ma's given allotment to this journe ...more
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
"Even if I had been able to say those words, I would have never been able to get them all out at once, to describe every facet of the experience. Memory is slippery, not even like a fish but like an eel, like an ice cube, like a clot of blood whose membranous skin can barely contain internal shifting liquidity. It's something that, the firm are you trying to grasp it, the weaker the hold you have on it, the less trustworthy it becomes. But it doesn't matter what really happened, does it? Real
M.L. Rio
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary, netgalley
Lord deliver me from pointlessly graphic descriptions of blowjobs in literary fiction.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I will start by saying I am glad I did not pay full price for this book because If I did I would feel pretty pissed off about know. Focusing on women's issues and the subject of gender, The Lauras has all the ingredients for an intriguing read but sadly fell short of that expectation. Narrated by a thirteen-year-old girl (?) called Alex, who tells the story of a three-year period that begun with an argument between the parents. Alex's mother wakes her up and says were leaving.

What follows is a r
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
13-year-old Alex’s mother is getting restless and tired of the endless arguments with Alex’s father. When she decides to take a road trip into her past, she takes Alex with her. As they travel together, the mother begins to share stories of her past. This is the first time that Alex feels the start of knowing anything about her.

I was very impressed by this author’s use of language in her first novel, “The Shore”, for which she won the Baileys Women’s Prize. She has again impressed me with her ne
Leilah Skelton
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Shore blew me away with its mind-bending timeframe and interlaced magical realism, so I was keen to see if I’d be won over by a much more straightforward, road-trippy kind of novel from Sara Taylor. No magical bells or future vision whistles. 300-ish pages of a mother and a child and the open road. Boom. Straightforward, right? Well, no. And my goodness, the ride I’ve just been taken on…

Alex is barrelling on through puberty, self-identity and state lines, and Ma is gradually sketching out th
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm a little bit conflicted on how to rate and review The Lauras because, for one thing, I think it's a bit better than a four star rating although not quite a four, if that makes any sense at all, so I guess the right thing to do would be to round up and give it four stars since half a star isn't an option. I really did enjoy this book quite a bit and again, this was a book that I went into without any knowledge of what it was about, if it had received positive ratings and reviews, and I'd neve ...more
Darque  Dreamer
Sep 06, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
(DNF) Spoilers Ahead:

The synopsis for this book really drew me in. I was hopeful for a self-discovery/ coming of age story for Alex (13-14 years old) and Alex's mother. The first 50 pages were beginning to offer just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, when I reached pages 55-57, I could not finish the book.

Of what I read so far, I found out that Alex's mother dragged Alex out of bed, in the middle of the night, to take off after a fight with Alex's father. The two drove for a while and decid

3.75 Stars

”Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” --- Matsuo Basho

They make their way through the back roads of Alex’s mother’s past, her years in foster care had been spent moving around, passed from family to family. Her teen years spent running from the past and from everyone and everything. Trying to find a place where the pain can’t reach her. And now she’s trying to track down her past, find it and stare it in the face and see if it recognizes her, dra
Eric Anderson
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was thrilled to receive Sara Taylor's new novel “The Lauras” which is a very different kind of book from her last novel "The Shore" but maintains her distinctly engrossing and insightful style of writing. It’s somewhat challenging to write about it because the novel’s narrator Alex, who is thirteen years old at the book’s beginning, doesn’t live as one gender or another. So it just presents a technical challenge where I have to use the joint pronouns she/he when referring to Alex. (This isn’t ...more
Ann (Inky Labyrinth)
In the middle of the night, Alex’s mother wakes up her thirteen-year-old them up and tells them that it’s time to go. Walking sleepily to the car, Alex never imagines that they won’t return. But alas, so begins their cross-country journey--mother and child, their whole life stuffed in a sedan.

As they drive, the mother reluctantly describes to Alex the pieces of the puzzle of her youth; retracing her steps from years ago, state by state.

The destinations and stopping points are not simply cities
Richard Moss
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The premise appears a familiar one. The Lauras is effectively a road movie on the page, as we follow Alex and her mother's journey across the US, in what becomes a quest of sorts.

Alex, who narrates though, is ungendered. You won't find personal pronouns here. This is a teenager also trying to navigate a way through the complications of identity.

That could have made this novel gimmicky, but it is testament to Sara Taylor's skill that it never feels that clumsy.

Alex and Ma hit the road after a fam
Andy Weston
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Time to delve into a couple of the long list for the Baileys Women Fiction Prize, and certainly this was a rewarding start.

It's a coming of age - roadtrip novel told in the first person, but is about a lot more; prejudice, gender, sexuality and independence.

13 year old Alex is taken from bed late one night by the mother (Ma) who has had one too many differences of opinion with her husband, and thus embarks a trip around America so that 'Ma' can deal with various ongoing issues from her earlier
Renita D'Silva
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Beautiful prose. Loved the writing.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a beauty. I immediately was swept away on the road with Ma and Alex. The writing was gorgeous, such precise, evocative descriptions of place and wise observations from the now grown-up Alex looking back on this road trip experience. I liked how it is mostly Ma's story -- she is "driving" the narrative, so to speak. But we get her story from the perspective of Alex, who is along for the ride while going through adolescence and all the messy realizations that go with it. I appreciated ...more
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received this ARC from in exchange for a review.

From the book description ... "I didn’t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong." This is pretty much the gist of the story.

Traveling cross country from east coast to west coast, Alex's coming of age story whil
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More reviews are available on my blog:

Alex's mom has always been a wanderer but, one night, she decides to take Alex for an epic, across the country road trip to settle scores and learn to overcome her unhappy childhood.  By accompanying her, Alex's childhood pains and lessons are revealed.  

I liked the story about Alex's mom a lot.  I love stories about one's childhood that eventually lead to healing.  It was rather annoying, though, that one of the centr
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it

Alex is thirteen years old. One night, Alex's mother wakes the child up, packs up their belongings and they hit the road, leaving her unsuspecting husband behind. They set off on a journey, that the mother has mapped out, revisiting her troubled past, which includes seeking out important friends, that had influenced her young adulthood. She calls all these friends, Lauras. On the drive, the mother slowly begins to tell Alex stories, revealing the events that had shaped her early life.
The other t
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, fiction
If you love a story about a mother's close and compelling relationship to her child, listen up. OR if you love a good road trip book. OR if you're an enthusiast of strong, budding genderqueer characters! This under-hyped book is for you.

Sarah Taylor's novel is a pretty compulsive read examining ways women and gender non-conforming people survive in a generally oppressive situations. [Warning, things are about to get punny.] When Alex and their mom (Ma) leave Alex's father - and their family home
Manon the Malicious
DNF 20%

I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I think this book should come with a trigger warning.
I wouldn't have picked it up if it had. I just couldn't get past the very graphic rape scene where a 14 year-old gives head to a grown man.
It kept me from sleep for hours actually.
So trigger warning please.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
Being a series of short reviews of the Young Writer of the Year Award shortlisted titles. Spoilers ahead.

Sara Taylor’s first book, The Shore, made me sob openly in a coffee shop. It’s a novel composed of interlinked stories, all set on Virginia’s Atlantic shore, and despite its great beauty, it is dark: the scene that made me cry is a rape scene, and it represents better than any I’ve ever read the way in which an assault is so often a betrayal of trust, that stomach-flipping slide from joyful b
Erin Glover
We don’t know what the fight is about, but it is the tipping point for Alex’s mother. She wakes up 13-year-old Alex and they grab their already-packed bags to set off on a road trip from Virginia to California, leaving Alex’s father behind. Alex’s mother, whose name we never find out, takes side trips to visit old friends and enemies.

The novel is a three-year long road trip. Alex’s mother shares her childhood story with Alex, and it’s bittersweet. She spent her childhood in a screwed up foster
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Thank you to the First to Read program for the advanced reading copy of "The Lauras".
This is a difficult review to write. I almost stopped reading the book about a third of the way because I found it depressing . It was filled with such ugliness and the news is bombarding us with ugliness daily and I was reading to escape the news. It is ,as advertised,the tale of a mother -daughter road trip. The mother needs to finish some unfinished business from her youth, much of it occurring during her tim
Dane Cobain
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for free to review as part of my position on the Young Writer of the Year Award shadow panel. Click here to find out more about that.

Despite this being the only of the books I’ve given five stars to so far, I’m retroactively upgrading The Lucky Ones to five stars as well. As far as I’m concerned, the competition for the overall winner of the award should be one or the other, although I liked them for different reasons.

I went into this thinking that it’s
First off, the selection for the reader for the audiobook is totally a bad choice. They couldn’t find a younger voice, a more androgynous voice? Having such an incredibly male voice reading this particular story does not at all fit the narrative, one in which you’re meant to have no idea what gender Alex might be.

Otherwise, it was a fine book. There was a joke about not being bankrupt after cancer by a woman living in Canada that really threw me - that’s such an American joke! However, it was o
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Sara Taylor is a product of the United States and the homeschooling movement. She traded her health for a BFA from Randolph College, and her sanity for an MA in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia. Following the MA her supervisor refused to let her leave, so she remains at the UEA to chip away at a double-focus PhD in censorship and fiction. She spends an unprecedented amount of time ...more

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“I guessed with a sick feeling that she was dead, and I didn’t want to imagine it but couldn’t help it: someone being around all your life, being there even when your parents die and your kids leave and your aunts aren’t speaking to you. And then one day she’s gone, this person that you’ve been with longer than you’ve been without, longer than you were with your parents, longer than you’ve ever been with anyone. And nothing will ever bring her back.” 0 likes
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