Discover the goodness of humanity and the thoughtfulness of people in ‘Allie and Bea’ by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I was provided with an advance reading copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Little Bird Publicity for this wonderful opportunity.

About the Book:

Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.

When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.

Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.

My Thoughts

Discover the goodness of humanity and the thoughtfulness of people in this journey of self-discovery and understanding. That’s the easiest way I could find to sum up, in entirety, the plot and story.

Written in the author’s unique style, we are once again treated to a story completely different from the others by the author. It’s amazing, as Ive mentioned countless times before, how the author can adapt her writing to suit the plot line, thus making every book of hers different. The differences in themes, in character creation, their personalities and even her form of expression changes, making her books pleasing and wonderful.

This story will make you cry, it will make you laugh and the author brings out the wonders of the world and life in general. She also emphasizes on  companionship and how everyone, no matter their age, seek out the same. Allie and Bea are two completely different people, both in age as well as personality. For Bea, having lived her life wholly until now with her husband by her side, her choice to go on a road trip and live in her van come out of necessity. For Allie, watching her parents get arrested and then being placed into the foster system force her to seek out life on her own, to run away. A chance encounter of these two ultimately sets them on a path of healing, self-discovery and a weird kinship develops. The lives they have lived so far are so far apart, that it takes time for them to understand each other. All of this is explained in chapters separated into their respective points of view. The journey they take not only opens up their eyes to a newer world, but to an alternate way of thinking. The same is true about the effects of the story on the readers.

Beautifully written and crafted, there is a lot for the readers to learn out of this book and is something that will stay with you long after reading it. The book is gripping and though slow at times, the pace is understandable. A refreshing new novel from Catherine Ryan Hyde, this will only seek to inspire the readers to pick up more of her books!

Book Review: My Evangeline by Heidi Radford Legg

About the Book:

My Evangeline by Heidi Radford Legg

When small town Acadian girl, Evangeline, 18, is faced with choosing between living out her late-mother’s unfinished dreams at her father’s insistence or following her own charted path that includes her summer boyfriend, the American Max, the magnitude of her decision weighs heavily. When she folds to her father’s pressure and moves to Montreal, she not only finds herself embroiled in political protests and losing Max, but begins to unravel a family secret her father was desperate to hide. My Evangeline, set in retro 1995, tells the story of a willful heroine, who with all her irreverent and rebellious undertones, is stopped in her tracks by duty. With a nod to Longfellow’s epic Evangeline who was faced with the same choice, we meet a contemporary heroine who begins her journey naïve and dutiful. And like the fabled heroine of old, she finds her inner strength once she realizes the casualty of her choices. Elements of magic realism permeate the story as she unravels the secret. She meets an owl, a panther and a raven that challenge her ability to reason as she sets out in search of her true spirit.

My Thoughts:

This story, set in 1995, follows a small town girl as she struggles to decide the path to take in life. On one side are her dreams and on the other are her father’s dreams for her. Torn between having to do what her father wants and her plans to join her boyfriend, Evangaline gives in and moves to Montreal. There she finds herself drawn into participating in political protests. The story shows us that any teenager, when brought up in a certain way with certain expectations, will always find ways to rebel.

Evangeline shows her emotions and expression through her art. Taken by her wonderful work, Sylvia tries to help her out. Evangeline also seems to live in two worlds, the real one, and the one where all the people seem to turn into animals. It seems to be the authors way of portraying how Evangeline thinks and showing us how it differs from many of us normally.

Slowly, our protagonist discovers that many people she meets in Montreal once knew her mother.As she embarks on a journey to try to discover more about her mother, her relationship with Max starts to face problems. All this, over the course of a year in her life, the author brings in some wonderful people for us to meet. The supporting characters like the heroine’s best friend and the people at home all add color and life to the story.

There are some comparisons/parallels drawn with the protagonists namesake from the poem. Even though I have not read the poem, and do not know much about it, it did not take away the beauty of this story for me. The simplicity of the language and the way the author has written the story makes it seem as though the words are just flowing together flawlessly.

This is a lovely story that consists all the elements of love, hurt, friendship and self-discovery. A brilliant mix, it tells us a wonderful tale that will definitely move the reader.