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Only 37 percent of high school students score high enough on reading achievement tests to handle adequately college le... More
Summary: Joy is a victim of an abusive home. Taken away from her mother and the trailer they called "home," she is now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. She's already convinced herself she'll never belong. This is all wrong. It is a hard journey for Joy to be a "normal" teenager while she is still struggling with issues from her past. Can you ever truly move on? This young adult novel chronicles the story of a young girl dealing with the aftermath of abuse. It is realistic fiction for mature audiences.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 13 and Up; read yourself: 15 and Up
Interest Level: 14 and Up
Age of Child: Read by a 16-year-old high school student.
Young Reader Reaction: Readers will be changed by this book. Joy's story shows them a new perspective on how people who have troubled lives live. I liked this book. Stronger than You Know uses figurative language in a very creative style that got the message across and still made you empathize with the character.
It very realistically depicts abuse, and the way that teenager would handle that situation. It's a tough book to read, especially since you can empathize so easily with the main character. You don't want the horrible things to happen to her, as you've learned a lot about her. You follow her life and the ups and downs, and this is a very good aspect of this book.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Stronger than You Know is heart-wrenching and sweet. It's also sentimental in a lot of good ways. Readers will find it impossible to put down.
Cons: The primary theme is abuse - emotional, physical, and sexual. It is presented realistically. These are tough subjects to broach with kids, and may require that you read the book first. Joy is good, but sometimes her actions are more representative of the "backstory," with not enough focus / emphasis on the subtlety of how she can be a very realistic character.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. Stronger Than You Know could be a life-changing book at the right time. Not only does Joy present a relatable character, it offers insight into the judicial system and how it handles abuse cases. The way the story presents how teenagers deal with romance in high school is well written and something to be appreciated in a young adult novel.
Educational Themes: The story is fiction, but many of the details - both how a child is taken from a home, how courts work, and their emotional journey - are very real. This would be an insightful book choice for counselors or those dealing with troubled teens.
Notes: The publisher donated an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, social issues, realistic fiction
Date(s) Reviewed: October 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.