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Review: Finding Hope

Finding Hope - Colleen Nelson

This was a bit of coverlust that made me select this one when I saw it on Netgalley. It's a a short read, it took me just under and an hour and a half to finish it, it's a rather sad story. Unfortunately,I didn't like it. It wasn't terribly written or anything. It had some fairly moving bits, but I just did not like it. 

 

If the story had been just from Hope's POV, I would have probably liked it more as she was much easier to identify with, and I could understand her. My biggest issue was the POV of the drug addicted brother, Eric. By the time the reasons for his descent into drugs was finally revealed I was so disgusted with his character I had no sympathy for him at all. Completely overshadowed by his appalling behaviour. Which I am well aware was the result of his meth addled mind and the deep seated addiction that had destroyed him and turned him into a horrible mess. Just didn't twig at me at all. While Hope on the other hand, her story was a lot more sympathetic even though she does some truly truly stupid things. 

 

Hope's still supporting her brother, even though her parents have kicked him out (trying a tough love approach) but she's still leaving him food and money. She has the chance to escape and reinvent herself at a posh boarding school a few hours from where she lives. She attracts the attention of a pack of mean girls who pretend to befriend her. Hope is struggling to fit in and decide what type of person she wants to be. But it's not easy to fit in with the mean girls who want her to do something horrible in order to fit in and be part of the group.

 

Hope escapes through poetry, which come to her at random times and she scribbles down in notepads. I don't get poetry at all, and usually poetry filtered into novels tends to be quite irritating but I quite liked how Hope's words fit in with the tone and the mood of the novels and allowed her to express herself when she couldn't find the words to say out loud. Hope gets an email at some point in the story from a boy at the neighbouring boy's school who says he's on their welcoming committee. They strike a spark and seem to get on really well through cute little email exchanges. 

 

Big spoiler but Hope's actions are so stupid here I need to have a little rant. 

 

Of course, it all goes wrong and Hope is devastated. He wants her to do something to win him back. This is all after Eric has shown up at the school pestering Hope for money and people (mean girls included, she's fallen out with them by this point) because he knows she will have his back and provide the cash he needs. Hope sends the guy she's been emailing nude pictures. She sends him nude pictures. How fucking stupid can you get? She's hoping he'll see her as sexy and strong and forgive him. Which again goes hideously wrong. And she's bullied relentless by the mean girls and evidence of the photos keep popping up. On top of that, she's got her drug addicted brother to deal with.

(show spoiler)

 

It's getting to the point where so many things are going wrong for both Hope and Eric it's more eye rolling than anything else. It's such a short book, it felt like so much thrown in and then a rush to wrap it all up. Hope finally takes charge of her mistake and does something about it,.

 

And Eric finally confronts his demons, but nothing quite goes according to plan he's decided to follow, but at least by the end he winds up in rehab with a second chance at connecting with his family. Hope stands up for herself and gets help in dealing with her own problems and is more than happy Eric's getting help as well. So it was quite a hopeful ending for a rather bleak story. 

(show spoiler)

It's sort of hard to put a finger on exactly what it was I didn't like, as there were some parts I certainly did like. I thought the writing and story telling did show a lot of promise and I would certainly read something by this author again.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Dundurn publishers for approving my request to view the title.