It was my first time to peruse over at NetGalley so I did not know what to expect. The feeling is similar to that of a first-timer, being overwhelmed and scared at the same time. Finding Hope was the first book that caught my eye and the premise sounded really interesting to me. It was family-oriented so I decided to give it a go.
THEN IT GOT APPROVED. And it’s my first book from NetGalley. I hope I picked the right book. I am really nervous because it’s an Advanced Reader’s Copy.
Title & Author: Finding Hope by Colleen Nelson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Expected Publication Date: April 12th 2016
Source: eARC, provided by NetGalley
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.
Why did everything happen so quickly? I mean, the drama is okay but it somehow reminded me of some of the Filipino telenovelas here. On how it all comes up and goes down real quick. I mean, I liked it’s flow but it all seemed to happen pretty fast if you get me. I loved that the author decided to share perspectives, but at the same time, I don’t know how or what I could feel about it.
I particularly enjoyed Eric’s (Hope’s brother) point of view because of the depth of how his life got messed up. It comes from a certain pressure that his family was pushing him through. We all know that male characters often have a hard time expressing how they feel, and the issue that Eric went through was not an issue that everyone notices. It happens to guys as well.
Wait Bianca, this is about Hope right? To be honest, I’m sad that Eric is not even on the summary. I mean, he and Hope shared the narration of the book. What happened to Eric was more disturbing than what happened to Hope. Her point of view felt a little too Mean Girls-esque for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s her actions that made me a little bit… anxious. I mean, get a clue. Some of it was already pretty obvious but she still does not get it. She was naive and ridiculously easy to manipulate.
Hope’s character development happened all too quickly for me as a reader to observe it. I was not fully satisfied with the conclusion of the book, and I hope that I read more of Eric’s point of view. In terms of connection, his character made more impact than Hope did. I enjoyed her poems, for the least.
Now for the plot, it was very fast-paced for a contemporary. I admire the fact that the book focused more on Hope’s student life, but it seems that the aspect of the situation is ridiculous. The premise is great, but Eric’s arc steals the spotlight from Hope.
I gave this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars because of the family aspect. I love how the bond between brother and sister was explored, despite the fact that Hope and Eric share different fathers. Overall, it was a pretty decent read. The lead character was just not for me. Colleen Nelson’s writing was extremely delicate, and I love it. Anyone could fall in love her writing style. I guess Finding Hope and I were not meant to be, but I will continue to support the author.
Colleen Nelson is the author of YA fiction books Finding Hope (2016), 250 Hours (2015), The Fall (2013) and Tori by Design (2011). ‘The Fall’ and ‘Tori by Design’ both won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. ‘The Fall’ was also nominated for the White Pine Award. Currently living in Winnipeg with her husband, two young sons and three grown step-children, Colleen manages to eke out time to write everyday, but usually in the early morning after a strong cup of coffee. A junior high school teacher for ten years before having children, Colleen is familiar and comfortable with the tricky phase of life called ‘adolescence’. Now a Teacher-Librarian in Winnipeg, Canada, Colleen is constantly on the look-out for books that will catch the attention of her reading-reluctant sons.