“Seventeen year old Katelyn Richards is a stronger person than anyone will ever know, and that is just the way she wants it. Behind her normal facade lies the reality of a broken home life. Thanks to her abusive mother, a string of deadbeat stepfathers, and an unsympathetic system, Katelyn has learned that the only one she can count on is herself. Her life’s mission has become to shield her nine year old brother, Kevin, and to give him the future that they both wish for. A life with no more abuse, no worries about where their next meal will come from, and no more wondering if they will have a roof over their heads.
When her mother moves them again, this time to a small town in Montana, Katelyn’s resolve is shaken when she meets Max, a cute boy from her new school, who gets a glimpse into her real world. Max slowly manages to break through Katelyn’s wall of distrust, stirring up feelings she never saw coming. Now with her world more complicated than she ever intended, Katelyn struggles with the decision to follow her heart into the arms of the first boy she has ever loved. A decision that could risk the promise she made to protect Kevin, and to give them the ‘someday soon’ that is so close within their grasp. ” (description from Goodreads)
I’ll start with this: If I could rework my ratings system because of ONE book and ONE book only, it would be for this book. I also did it too. I almost bumped the rating for this book up to a six or seven out of five. The only thing stopping me was that it wouldn’t be fair to the other books that have gotten or will get five stars as ratings. Another reason is that even though my reaction to this book was that it was phenomenal, it doesn’t mean the others who were “six or seven stars” don’t deserve that said either. They are all different books, with different great things about them. A book should (and I’ll do my best to uphold this, but I’m human) always be judged against itself when rating and not judged against past rated books…yada yada yoda.
Basically this five-star rating for this book is the top rating; it got an A+; it got 100%. There’s no reason to try to make it seem like 110% when it’s already at the top of it’s game….I should get to the review part shouldn’t I? Ok, here we go:
This book really blew me away. There were so many pieces of this book that not only drew me in to it, but it almost didn’t let me leave in the end. Tiffany King weaves a beautiful story of hope around one of the ugliest aspects of the human experience.
I’ll start out with the characters in the book. They were extremely lovable (with the exception of two, and definitely ONE). Once Kevin, Katelyn’s kid brother was mentioned, I knew he’d be one of my favorite characters. Katelyn’s character, while not all too likable for some of her values, is also a great character. She’s strong, loves her brother more than anything else in the world, and will do anything to protect him. What’s not to like? Katelyn has survived years of moving around the country and relentless abuse from her mother Lucinda. All the while she does nothing but hold out hope for her eighteenth year and a plan to leave the hell that is her home life behind.
The secondary characters were, while almost being TOO nice, believable and a godsend in times of need. The adults were always helpful, and through their actions from beginning to end they were a sign that life didn’t have to be lived how Katelyn and Kevin had seen it. There are great people in life and they are willing to help others. Even when someone was dealt a bad hand with parents and lifestyle, it’s nothing to settle for. There are ways out, and the adults and even teenagers, helped to show Katelyn an alternative.
One thing that kept getting on my nerves was the way Katelyn continued to endure the verbal and physical abuse dished out by her mother Lucinda. When her mother wasn’t in the mood to argue she was still using her daughter almost in a slave labor fashion because she couldn’t bother to do things for herself. This was appalling to read. But why do I praise this book? Well, it’s because of elements like this one. It’s UGLY, DISGUSTING, and downright UNACCEPTABLE; it’s also real life. This isn’t a unique experience made up for the world of fiction. There are families like this all over the world today. King painted such a graphic portrait for me as the reader that I couldn’t help but wish to jump into the story and save Katelyn and Kevin on various occasions.
Because of this way King’s writing captured me and kept me reading, it seemed like my emotions mirrored that of the character’s. There were sad moments (very sad ones), happy moments, and moments when there was nothing but anger. I’ve never wanted to jump into a book just to kill off a character so badly before. I think many readers will get this reaction when they read as well. Luckily the good emotions were ones of hope and happiness, those can always brighten the overall story.
This book succeeded in locking me almost completely into the story emotionally. This is something that has never been done by any book or author before. The last scene could easily have killed me if it went on any longer. It’s not that it dragged on and on, it didn’t. What happened is that when I read it, my heart was thumping so hard and fast in my chest that I thought it’d just burst, not allowing me to finish reading. I’ve never been this on edge for any book or movie before. That scene was pure literary magic for me.
From beginning to end this book will take a toll on the readers emotions. I don’t know how any reader will not feel at least the slightest emotional connection to this book.
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