Plot SummaryFifteen-year-old Ashley Asher has spent half of her life living in fear. Her stepfather has been sexually abusing her for years, but her mother doesn't believe her. After his latest assault lands her in the emergency room, Child Protective Services finally removes Ashley from her home, and sends her to live with the father she barely remembers and his new family. Her new life in Patience, Texas, is much better. She's in therapy to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is trying to make her way in a new high school. She's getting used to living with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother, and she's made new friends in the summer course taught by her stepmother, Bev. She even joins the track team at the urging of her new African American friend, Z. Z. But Ashley is so traumatized by her past that she sometimes scratches herself until she bleeds and sleeps in her armoire, even though she knows she's safe now. Worse, when her stepfather is finally put on trial for hurting her, she learns that truth and justice don't always go together. Will Ashley adjust to a better life? Will she trust enough to date Josh, the cute guy on her track team who likes her?
I enjoyed this book. I thought Ashley was a realistic character. Her parents and stepparents were also believable. The writing was not 'perfect.' But the story was still worth telling. The author seems to be still coming into her own as a writer but there is great potential.
Ashley has spent most of her life in fear. Fear from the abuse of her stepfather. But her mother does not believe her.
Information about the author
I was inspired to write this story by my own recovery from childhood sexual abuse. In the process of working through my own grief, disbelief, and anger, I was writing poems and short stories, and sharing them with my (
long-suffering) therapist. One day, he suggested that I try writing a novel.
It took me about four months of starting and stopping, always ending up in the same place: stuck inside myself-- until one day I became so sick of the scenery that I decided to try to imagine what it would have been like if I had been able to get out of the abusive situation I was in at age 15-- instead of remaining in it much longer. What if a young girl in that situation had a father who had allowed his own shame at being a lousy dad to keep him away for her entire life, as Ashley's father, David does? AND- what if he was able to come through for her in a way he never thought he could, when she needed him the most?
health. psychology. abuse.
*How do you heal from traumatic events in her life? *Where do you go for peace? *Who is a safe person you can talk to?
age 13 and up
This novel was one of three assigned novels for this class. It helps round out this collection by dealing with the stressful issue of abuse.