Where Honesty Never Ends.
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Young Adult
Abbreviated Blurb (courtesy of Amazon):
For some people, getting a second chance is a chance at life itself.
Emma’s life hasn’t been easy. After suffering the death of her beloved baby brother that catapulted her into the foster care system, a secret abortion at fourteen that haunts her every day, and languishing in a group home for two years, Emma has given up hope anything good could ever happen. But as luck would have it, Emma gets placed with a wealthy couple in Long Island. Although she’s pretty sure they took her in just so she could act like a human security camera while they gallivant around the world, she’s not one to scorn opportunities so close at hand. Now, she just might have a shot at finishing high school and being accepted to college so she can leave the hated foster care system behind her forever. Unless she screws up first.
Hello everyone! Welcome to The Review Board. Today we cover the Young Adult book Choices by Pnina Baim. To share her thoughts, the Unleashed One.
The reason I was initially drawn to Choices was twofold. One, it had been a while since I read any young adult works and two, I know a few people close to me who have been part of the “system” and I wanted to see how deeply this book would explore that realm.
On the second reason, I didn’t get a lot of detail. Although there were elements of the foster system that played into levels of the main character’s decision making, I still felt as if there was something missing. I craved a bit more details as to the why. What made emancipation so important to her? Were there horror stories in some of the other environments besides the abortion? Yes, they are told in Emma’s point of view but there’s not enough talk about the emotional impact of all the choices. They are conveyed in a matter-of-fact ambiance where I couldn’t decide if it was Emma’s coping mechanism or if there was a detachment between narrative and character development.
The cover left a lot to be desired. To me, it didn’t remotely fit the content inside. If one was judging by the cover, I would not have thought to pick it up.
Despite those hiccups, Choices had lots of things going for it. I’m usually not a fan of first person present tense because sometimes, an author tends to overkill on “I” and may slip in tense consistency. Yet, the author seemed very comfortable, and Choices flowed well enough to where I was not overly annoyed. There were also minimal opportunities with syntax.
The additional characters drew my interest, particularly Reagan and Linda. Reagan had an all too familiar dynamic—leader of a group of friends who are not as open minded about others in the circle. Through the pages, I developed a love/hate relationship with him that didn’t quite get settled as the book reached its end. Linda had moments where she could be a bit overprotective, even preachy, yet her purpose was to ensure that Emma stayed on the right track. Everyone may not want a friend like Linda, but through the pains of life, Emma is that friend one needs.
The conclusion of the book gave that slice of hope that despite Emma’s challenges, she is a tough cookie and will endure. Is it an ending that is expected? No. Does it seem too much happily ever after? To some audiences, perhaps. Yet, in my opinion, even scenarios where the odds are against people in those circumstances, it is always wonderful to get a success story every now and again.
Unleashed (and overall TRB) Verdict: 8.5 out of 10 (This translates to 4 Stars in other areas)
For a reader who wants a glimpse of foster care life without the grime, yet with just enough determination within the pages, then Choices is a book you should pick up.
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