Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Heart with Joy by: Steve Cushman

Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman
Release Date: September 2010

Canterbury House Publishing, Ltd
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

The Story: (from Steve Cushman's Website) In Heart With Joy, fifteen year old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.

Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store even as his parents drift apart. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.

My Review: I love reading coming of age stories, and I was delighted when I was given the opportunity to read and review Heart with Joy. This short novel is packed with a profound story of joy, loss, hope, and discovery. Cushman writes in such a way that it seemed like I was reading the life story of a real person rather than a work of fiction. Heart with Joy is emotionally charged and superbly written. I could not put it down once I started reading.

Julian Hale is a character that anyone can relate to. In fact, as I read Heart with Joy, I couldn't help but reminisce about my own teenage years, and trips down memory lane can often be interesting or even strange. But more than that, this novel is a reminder that we each must discover what fills our heart with joy, that even though we do not know what the future with certainty, we can still live with joy is this moment.

Heart with Joy is a must read for anyone. After reading the book, I found myself considering the characters and the events at odd times. This is rare for me. Usually I read a book, write a review if I feel moved to do so, and then it is pushed aside and essentially forgotten as I move on to the next book. Heart with Joy, however, is still sitting on my desk, a week after I completed reading it. I simply can not relegate it to the bookshelf or put it in a box with the multitude of other books I have. This will be a book that I will read again and again in the years to come.

My Rating:

Check back tomorrow for an interview with Steve Cushman and a chance to win Heart with Joy.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Julie! I can't wait to read this one now. It sounds really amazing.



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