26384905Title: Finding Hope
Author: Colleen Nelson
Publisher: Dundurn
Release Date: April 12th 2016
Pages: 200
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Purchase: The Book Depository | Amazon

❝ Hope lives in a small town with nothing to do and nowhere to go. With a drug addict for a brother, she focuses on the only thing that keeps her sane, writing poetry. To escape, she jumps at the chance to attend Ravenhurst Academy as a boarding student. She’ll even put up with the clique-ish Ravens if it means making a fresh start.

At first, Ravenhurst is better than Hope could have dreamed. She has a boyfriend and a cool roommate, and she might finally have found a place she can fit in. But can she trust her online boyfriend? And what can she do after her brother shows up at the school gates, desperate for help, and the Ravens turn on her? Trapped and unsure, Hope realizes that if she wants to save her brother, she has to save herself first. ❞

Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Finding Hope was a quick read for me, as I finished it in a few hours. I appreciated the book’s themes, but thought it was an okay read.

The book deals with a variety of controversial themes, such as drug addiction, bullying and sexual abuse. Because of this, Finding Hope might not be everybody’s cup of tea. I was pleasantly surprised that the author decided to tackle these issues, since Young Adult books often tend to shy away from topics too serious. It made me appreciate the book more and also gave it a more realistic vibe than other books in the genre.

However, I do feel as though some of these very issues were addressed fleetingly, their exploration to superficial for my taste. The drug abuse problem was accurate enough in its cause and the constant struggle to survive and get quick fixes, but that was about it. It appalled me that there was a quick solution at the end of the book, that magically cured everything. It often does not work like that in the real world and it kind of sends out the wrong message about addicts. For some, treatment simply does not do the trick. For some it does but they end up relapsing anyway.

Other issues were portrayed more accurately, but still in a quick manner. I think it might be because the author decided to incorporate more than one topic in the book, or because the book was simply too short, both in general length and in chapter length. Either way, this disappointed me.

Furthermore, there were also times when I did not like one of the protagonists, Hope. Her poor decisions and naivety annoyed me to no end. Who lets people waltz all over themselves like that? Who trusts a boy they’ve never met in real life? Until the realization came that Hope’s behavior can in fact be seen as accurate and realistic, since it happens to teenagers (and adults) in real life. It could be an adequate reaction on Hope’s part, especially given her family issues . So while I was initially going to frame that as criticism , I’ve changed my mind.

Things I really liked were Nelson’s writing style, which was both attractive and fitting for the genre. Mostly, I adored the addition of the poems. They were extremely beautiful and a nice change in the interface of the book.

All in all, Finding Hope was an adequate read. I think it’s great that the author decided to introduce more adult topics in her book, but I was a little less enthusiastic about the execution.

Finding Hope

6.4

Characterization

6.0/10

Plot

6.8/10

Writing Style

7.7/10

Pace

6.0/10

Setting

5.5/10

Pros

  • Addresses controversial themes
  • Poems
  • Appealing writing style

Cons

  • Controversial themes too superficial
  • Too short