The story picks up again in 2007, and we revisit the setting afterwards, through various perspectives, and see how the devastation has altered the lives of several characters.
Lee is a vigilant do-gooder, somewhat obsessed with the pollutants that still remain, and is trying to avenge her daughter Jess, who died of cancer shortly after the exposure. As time passes, and as she meets resistance, her obsession escalates.
Hal is a self-righteous man trying to redeem his alcoholism through religion and by “preaching” to all who cross his path, including Lee. A most unlikeable character, in my opinion, he is in total denial about what is going on around him.
Cully, Hal’s son, is a young man affected by wrong choices, while Dex is an older teen who is trying to do the right thing, but coming up against those who do not. Willa, a teen girl who sees visions, is vulnerable and fragile because of one wrong afternoon that changed everything for her.
And hovering over them all is the arrogant specter of Avery Taft, rich and powerful builder, who is determined to expand his kingdom, no matter what might happen.
As we watch the struggles of these characters, there is a strong sense of foreboding that settles over the town as we gradually see what is just out of our line of vision. Will they all finally realize that you cannot ignore what is right in front of you? Are they all on a collision course that will change their lives once again? Friendswood: A Novel is a compelling story that reminded me of others in which one character is trying to do the right thing, while in opposition are those fighting against him or her, and how, ultimately, there will be some kind of combustion, whether philosophical or actual. Five stars.