Friday, December 20, 2013
Book Review: Kathryn Cushman's Chasing Hope
Summary: Sabrina sees a teenage girl running from a cop one day while she is on campus, but she unaware that their paths are about to cross for more than an instance. Sabrina's grandmother knows the teenage girl's grandmother, and she knows how much stress she is going through right now with trying to keep her grand daughter, Brandy, under control. Now she is in trouble and could be serving time in juvie, unless she can find some extracurricular activities to get her involved in that can show her time is being dedicated to things other than crime when not in jail. Sabrina agrees to help train Brandy for the cross country team, but she the task of helping Brandy stay away from her corruptible lifestyle is going to prove difficult especially on Sabrina who already has the stress of finding a job after college and her serious illness.
Characters: I believe that the characters are well developed. Mostly Sabrina though seems to have the most realistic nature, and the way she responds to things I think most women and girls have found themselves doing. Such as when she sees Koen and Lindsay hanging out it is a natural assumption even I have fallen into that seeing a guy you interested in just with someone else means he is less interested in you. Brandy feels a little less real about midway through the novel. I get that these novels can't emphasize all that might be a part of Brandy's nature, but the author does a good job of hinting of what goes on in Brandy's life. Her turnaround is inspirational, but really quick considering the length of the novel. I still found the relationship between her and Sabrina to be motivational because it shows two females working with each other to try to help one another despite their differences. Their conversations don't revolve around boys or relationships, but more so encouraging the other and seeking to find something deeper to their lives. I believe the book cast some good role models for readers.
Writing: The writing is good, and captures the moments well. The characters experience a range of emotion. Everything from joy, pain, to sadness. I also like how Cushman is able to keep the book from being completely easy to predict. For some the sports aspect might be slow, but it's very rare to get a female book where women are competing in sports and being active that I feel that sets it apart in creativity.
Plot: The characters make a lot of changes in the novel. The good thing is that not only can Brandy learn from Sabrina, but Sabrina can come to grips about her own past through how she is observing Brandy. Sabrina may be the more easy to relate to for many, because for a lot of us it isn't that our troubles come from having a bad past filled with drugs and alcohol, but more so the pains that hit us from occurrences that we didn't feel we sought out or deserved. Sabrina still has a lot of healing to do from the losses she's had, and I like how the novel covers that with depth. The faith aspect is also easy to relate to. As a Christian I just found it more of a realistic debacle that Sabrina was having.
Chasing Hope is a good novel to learn things from, and I think the appeal is wide range enough that guys could read this book and find lessons to be learned from. It isn't just a book for females. The book never gets over the top with circumstances to seem as if it isn't real either, and it shows you can write about people living in the world we do now in real life situations and still have a good book.
Rating 7 of 10.
This book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for a review.