17 March 2016

ARC Review: Finding Hope, Colleen Nelson

Finding Hope

Title: Finding Hope
Author: Colleen Nelson
Published: 19/03/2016, Dundurn
Pages: 200
Source: Netgalley
Format: Ebook

Rating: 3/5

"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."

Finding Hope is a nice, quick read that I enjoyed. It is similar to many YA contemporaries in the fact that one of the main issues raised is drug use. However, in no way does Finding Hope glamorise drug use. It's all about the harsh reality of drug addiction and what it leads addicts to do.

From what I'm aware, the setting felt real. Finding Hope starts off in a small town which is hard to get out of, and I can somewhat relate to that. However, Hope finds her escape when she moves to boarding school. I have no experience of boarding school and I don't actually know where the closest one is. All I know is what I come across in books and movies. However, I did find boarding school to be a good setting for Hope's situation.

I did like Hope. She's had a tough few years watching her brother struggle with his addiction. It's no wonder she wanted to escape her hometown. However, that being said, she could be incredibly naive and stupid. I wanted to scream at her. One of her actions is just a massive no-no. No girl with half a brain would do what she stupidly done - at least, I'd like to think so. She also had a tendency to let people walk all over her - particularly her brother. However, her backbone came gradually.

I really felt for Eric. No teenager (or anyone for that matter) should have to go through what he went through. And because of this it's no wonder he turned to drugs. He goes from being a popular, sporty teenager to a paranoid, addicted mess. And it's heartbreaking. His life would have turned out so differently had he had the bravery to tell someone.

Finding Hope is told from the alternating perspectives of Hope and Eric. This gives a good insight into meth addiction, not only for the addicted but also the effects on those closest to them. I didn't find Eric's story too predictable as it could have gone so many different ways. However, Hope's story involving her online boyfriend was as predictable as it could have been. Red flashing warning lights from the start.

I did feel that the plot was well paced and the few months covered didn't feel rushed. There were a few twists to the plot, but a few were predictable. However, nothing was too cliché. And the ending tied up all the plot points nicely and there was a clear light at the end of the tunnel.

The only major minus I can think of is that I don't feel there was as much emotion as there should have been, particularly regarding Eric. I think the reader should be closer to tears. I also wish there was more confrontation in the story. Hope's family need a long, hard look at how they dealt with Eric's addiction.

I would recommend Finding Hope, particularly to teenage fans of contemporary reads. It is a well thought out story dealing with the consequences of drug addiction in a quite a simple way.

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  1. Great review!

    I agree with you on the emotional-front of this read; I didn't feel I was nearly as connected with the characters as I should have been, for what they go through.

    1. Thanks! I'm so glad I'm not the only one that felt this way!


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