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When her father’s sudden death shakes her sense of security and reality, Becca wonders: Can she maintain her connection to Appalachia from across the country or should she “come on home” as her family before her, who we meet through vignettes, have done?

An unplanned pregnancy and an emotionally absent partner leave Becca feeling lost in the sprawling Los Angeles metropolis, but Noeli, a daughter of Mexican immigrants, a self-possessed rule breaker, and a writer for a well-known feminist magazine, deepens her understanding of home, culture, and who she can love.

Rock of Ages is ultimately an ode to Appalachia, an exploration of the immigrant experience, an expedition to the very edges of birth and death, and a question—must the hero return home to complete her hero’s journey?

Strewn with bits of magical realism, including a black mountain cat who leaves trails of wildflowers in her wake, Rock of Ages would be at home shelved with Foer’s Everything is Illuminated and Horne’s The World to Come.