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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

Untethered: Faith, Failure, and Finding Solid Ground

Laura Whitfield

When Laura Whitfield was fourteen, her extraordinary brother, Lawrence, was killed in a mountain climbing accident. That night she had an epiphany: Life is short. Dream big, even if it means taking risks. So, after graduating from high school, she set out on her own, prepared to do just that.Laura spent her first summer after high school on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a magical few months filled with friendships, boys, and beer. There she met a handsome DJ who everyone called “Steve the Dream,” and risked her heart. When September came, Steve moved to New York City to become a model —prompting Laura to start thinking about modeling, too. After just one semester of college, still seeking to fill the void left by her brother’s death, she dropped out and moved to New York to become a cover girl. But while juggling the demands of life in the big city—waiting tables, failed relationships, and the cutthroat world of modeling—she lost her way. A stirring memoir about a young woman’s quest to find hope and stability after devastating loss, Untethered is Laura’s story of overcoming shame, embracing faith, and learning that taking risks—and failing—can lead to a bigger life than you've ever dared to imagine.

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