RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Suzanne Redfearn’s “In an Instant” (2019) is a remarkable book, which manages to be fast-paced and easily accessible to the casual reader, yet deeply satisfying and perceptive, providing insight into the nature of grief and loss I hadn’t expected in a book so entertaining.
The book’s title refers to the main character, 16-year-old Finn Miller, whose life is over in an instant when the van her father is driving crashes through a guardrail in a snowstorm and tumbles down the side of a mountain. What had been planned as a fun skiing trip for Finn, her family and their friends turns into a struggle for physical and emotional survival for those Finn leaves behind.
Because her death has left such disruption in those who survive the accident, Finn finds herself unable to let go of the life she once lived. She observes the grief her mother, Ann, feels; the rage her father, Jack, battles; the despair her sister, Chloe, experiences; and the emotions the other characters struggle with as they grieve.