About the Book
Book: Something I am Not
Author: Cher Gatto
Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: January 25, 2019
A father who never loved him…
A woman who stole his worth…
And a brother he couldn’t protect.
A woman who stole his worth…
And a brother he couldn’t protect.
Where does someone run in the face of his deepest shame?
Billy McQueen works hard to keep his life together … and concealed. At seventeen, he dreams of an escape from the barroom, his father’s manipulation, and the advances of his father’s girlfriend. However, on his eighteenth birthday, Billy is introduced to a younger brother he never knew he had. An eight-year-old who is barely capable of navigating the corrupt world of his father’s boxing club.
Now, in order to secure his freedom, Billy must fight for it. But to save his little brother who is next in line for the slave trade … he must die for it.
SOMETHING I AM NOT, formerly titled Billy, won the ACFW Genesis Award for the Contemporary category. It was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.
Click here to get your copy!
This is not an easy feel good kind of book. In fact it is one of the hardest stories I have ever read. It drips with raw emotions and sends readers to a place where evil lurks. There has been news reports and documentaries about human trafficking, but this book goes deeper. It goes to the under belly of darkness and exposes the truth that no one is immune from pain, desperation and a loss of hope.
Billy is a character that I wanted to rescue myself. I wanted to barge in the room, knock Max to the ground and tell Billy he was safe. The author lets us see inside a world where power controls people and their love of money devours their soul. Billy has been beaten all his life but his loyalty to Max is honorable. He knows God but I think he wondered where he was at times. The abuse is constant and savage yet Billy continues to draw strength from inside.
The scenes are graphic at times but is necessary to understand the emotional and physical abuse a person goes through. I have no good words to say about Max. He is an abusive, power hungry person who sees Billy as a way out of situations. I can’t even fathom how a “parent” could sell their child knowing the atmosphere they were placing them in. Max oozes with darkness and has no remorse for the torture he endures Billy to.
I admired Billy and his determination to survive. He is someone who knows that the truth will set him free. His journey is heartbreaking yet I feel it helped him grow closer to God. I don’t want to go into much detail about the story because readers need to experience it for themselves. Billy makes difficult decisions which define his future. There are a few surprises in the story which helped explained the ending. I admire the author for writing a story that not only exposes evil, but shows us that there is hope.
“But nothing-not wicked men or even demons that haunt you-can take you out of God’s hands.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Cher Gatto is a native to NJ and lives with her husband (pastor) and five teenagers. Their family spent 10 years in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids (see more about the ranch below) and founded an addictions ministry (R-HUB) back in the states. Cher has a Master’s in Psychology and serves as president of the ACFW NY/NJ chapter. Cher’s debut novel won the Genesis Award in 2016 and the Christian Indie Award for Best YA in 2020. Her new novel, Regent, is scheduled to release this fall, and she has begun a sequel to Something I Am Not.
More from Cher
I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Our family (my husband and I and our five children) lived in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids, at-risk youth, and broken families in impoverished villages surrounding the ranch. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter in the city, and we used the horses to love on the girls there. I say “women’s” shelter, but most were children (13, 14, 15 years old) trying to raise babies of their own. Many of the babies a result of abuse, rape, or incest. Some had been drawn out of trafficking. Their stories tragic and incomprehensible.
About a year after we got on the field, the shelter closed down for a dangerous breach in security. All the girls were sent back to where they came from. We could do nothing. Nothing at all, but watch them go. A few months later, I saw one of the girls at church escorted by her “father.” When our eyes met, the vacancy in hers shattered my heart. I will never forget it. And one day, while I was cleaning a horse corral, I had Billy’s story. Not the whole thing, but a piece of it.
I hid myself away whenever I could for months and wrote furiously. I had no idea how the story would unfold, or even what themes would develop. But three hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. I thought I was writing a fiction novel, but Billy’s journey gave me the key to process and heal from things I saw around me but couldn’t change. Things that broke my heart.
I needed a different ending—a redemption. Billy’s story became an allegory on life. He lives under the wrong “father,” as an orphan, believing the fear and shame that those lies wield. But in finding the right Father, he finds where he truly belong. Billy’s story is about coming home. It’s his story, and it’s ours.
Something I Am Not was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. It won the 2016 Genesis Award for the contemporary category and 2020 Christian Indie Award for best Young Adult fiction.
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Inklings and notions, July 10
For Him and My Family, July 11
For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, July 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 14
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 15 (Author Interview)
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, July 16
Just the Write Escape, July 17
To celebrate her tour, Cher is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.