Published Feb 2015 by Amy Einhorn Books
My Rating: 4.5/5


“It was the summer everything changed….”

My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson–free spirit, track star, and belle of the block–experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.


Here’s something I don’t often say…I love that blurb! It evokes such an accurate portrait of the story without giving a single thing away. And that opening sentence completely drew me in. I don’t know about you but I totally judge a book by the opening sentence or two. I can’t say this is a good reading trait to have as I just recently abandoned a very hyped book because the opening sentence bothered me. This could be part of my super picky reading mood lately which thankfully had no impact on this book which has been on my tbr for 2 years!

I just finished this book yesterday and could go on and on as there’s so much I loved about this literary coming-of-age-mystery but in the name of keeping with the TBT short post format bullet points are needed:
  •  The writing was phenomenal…not in a ‘talks over your head, wordy literary prose’ type of way; rather, in a ‘how did he put together such a wonderful sentence that so perfectly evokes just the right feeling’ type of way.
  • The mystery…there are 4 suspects in the crime against Lindy Simpson and I LOVE that the narrator was one of them. The author did a masterful job of making me feel I knew this narrator, I trusted him, I felt for his awkward teenage dilemmas and his  unrequited love for Lindy, though all the while I still had whispers of doubts about his innocence.
  • The 1989 time period….I was a high school teenager in 1989 and this author literally took me back to that time…talking to friends on a phone with a CORD while hoping no one else picked up the second home phone, watching the Challenger explosion at school, banana seat bikes, no helmet bike riding, those certain kids from those certain families that you knew were just “off” but being a kid yourself you didn’t know why.
  • The cliffhanger chapters…brilliant!
  • The unnamed narrator (I swear I didn’t even realize I didn’t know his name until I went to write this!) is telling the story from a point many years in the future, a technique I love and that enables him to provide the hindsight of an adult while still telling the story from a teenager’s perspective
  • The tension the author managed to create in the last 10% took my rating from a solid 4 to a 4.5

If you’re wondering what kept this from being a 5 star rating, it was one minor issue I had with what I’d describe as an odd veering off of the plot when there was an entire chapter devoted to the difference between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This threw the pace off for me and I found myself skimming to get back to the main storyline. Minor issue but that’s why. In the end, I really enjoyed this book and I’m so glad I’ve decided to incorporate these older reads into my summer reading along with the new releases…there are so many gems from the past still out there! If you’ve read this one I’d love to hear your thoughts…


More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Cathy at Between the Lines

P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

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  1. I’ve had this book since it came out, so I really need to read it! Walsh is an excellent writer. We teach his short stories all the time when covering Southern fiction, and they are superb. Excellent review!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to read this right now! You got me! All of those 80’s references….so cool! I had my own red phone with a cord but not my own line (only a few kids had those teen ring lines at that time). I remember taping the song “Manic Monday” off of the radio (pressing play and record at the exact moment the song started) and the phone rang at a certain part and to this day I expect to hear the phone ring during that part of the song.

    I also remember coming home from school right after the Challenger explosion and my dad was crying…I never saw my dad cry.

    Great post Renee. I really have to get this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deanna I’m totally with you on the phone…I was;t allowed to have my own in my room… and I have so many memories of waiting for any Michael Jackson song to come on the radio so I could record it and hope no one made any noise😂this book will take you back in time, I hope you enjoy it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I added this booka fter you told me and it sounds awesome ❤ Love how you selected your favorite things about it. And what a weird chapter (New orleans vs baton rouge? lol). I think I'll enjoy it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love that cover! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one after being on your TBR for a few years.

    “I just recently abandoned a very hyped book because the opening sentence bothered me.”

    I got to know, which book did you abandon after the first line?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the cover to and this was a great find in my tbr pile! I abandoned The Good Widow after the first line…it’s not a horrible first line by any means but something about it bothered me and reading the rest of the page didn’t help so I put it down. I’m so picky sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

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