2016 VOYA Top Shelf Fiction Selection
CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Fall 2016) — Starred Selection
Hope leaves her small town for a fresh start, but her plans are derailed by an online romance and the appearance of her brother.
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.
Colleen Nelson is an award-winning YA author whose previous books include The Fall and Tori by Design, both of which won the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award from the Manitoba Book Awards. This is Colleen’s fourth YA novel. She lives in Winnipeg.
…a well-plotted, fast-moving little angst tornado of a read.
Steeped in emotional torment.
…an arresting read that adeptly tackles the dark, weighty subjects of bullying, drug addiction, sexual assault, homelessness and loss. Told in simple yet striking prose, peppered throughout with Hope’s haunting poetry, Finding Hope offers an engaging brother-sister narrative, flawed yet relatable characters, and a convincing, well-paced plot that succeeds in laying bare a fractured family’s harrowing struggle with addiction, and one young woman’s achingly real odyssey of self-discovery and healing.
Through brief alternating chapters told by Hope and Eric, Nelson conveys Hope’s naiveté and innocence, as well as the gritty truth about Eric and the trigger for his addiction.
? Both heartbreaking and hopeful, this will be a popular choice among mature readers of realistic fiction, particularly fans of Ellen Hopkins’s “Crank” series.
The silence and shame around sexual abuse infuses this novel with an aching loss for what could have been but now is lost. Both this abuse and the online texting of sexual pictures reflects dangers faced by the intended audience, who will no doubt pass this book eagerly from hand to hand.
The prose is simple, yet elegant, and readers will appreciate the dual meaning of the title, in Hope’s self-discovery, and the literal need for the characters to find hope.
For suspense and gritty realism … Finding Hope takes top marks.