About the Book
Author: Kathy Cassel
Genre: YA fiction
Set against the backdrop of the sport of freerunning, Kia must decide whether she will continue running or face her past abuser in order to save another child.
Night is Kia’s favorite time, when she freeruns to outdistance the memories of abuse she suffered as a young child. But when former reality television star Terrence Jones arrives at their school as the new head track coach, things begin to change in unpredictable ways. Kia tries out for the team to fit in, but just as she’s gaining a new sense of normal, her abuser steps back into her life. Not only that, but being on the track team causes even more turmoil. Why does the assistant coach, Cassandra Clark, dislike Terrence Jones so much, and even more troubling, why does Coach Clark dislike her so much? As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, Kia realizes she has to choose between running from her past or saving a child from the same sort of abuse she suffered. But will she have the courage to do so?
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This has been one of the hardest books I have ever had to read. It triggered anxiety in me and brought back my painful childhood. To say that I can relate to Kia is sad. I have to face the fact that her story and mine are very similar. We both suffered trauma from family members. I was so angry as I read how she endured what her grandfather had done to her. I understand how she felt like no one would believe her.
The author has written a story that hits the mark on a subject that many have lived through. Why is it so hard for people to believe a child when they say they have been abused by someone? I had so much anger towards her grandfather that I could have hit him. His arrogance is horrible and what he does to children is inexcusable. Now comes the hard part for Kia when her best friend tries to share Jesus with her. She feels abandoned by God and doesn’t understand why He allowed things to happen to her. Like me, she never had a childhood. I grieve with her for the lost little girl in both of us.
I do think the author has done an excellent job at writing a book about a subject that gives readers an understanding of what abusers do. Kia is strong and determined to make sure her grandfather doesn’t hurt another child. I won’t say much of what happens in the story but I will say that the hardest part for me and others is to forgive the people who hurt us.
The term “free running” is new to me. I did like learning more about it. I ran and jumped with Kiana and felt free as she conquered tricks. Her best friend Thorn is a bright light in her life. He listens to Kia, supports her and believes in her. I don’t want to overlook how important he is in the story. He listened and encouraged Kia to act on her suspicions. I’m glad she had someone grounded in the word to show her that God does have a plan for her life. He deals with some tough family issues as well and it was compelling to read how he trusted God to show him what to do.
Kia’s mother is someone I was upset with throughout the entire story. She allowed her father to dictate her life and should have stood up and protected her own daughter. Why does she allow him to move in with her and Kia knowing what he has done? I can’t explain it because my mother turned her back on me as well. I have to say that although this book triggered me, I appreciate a writer who is not afraid to share the truth about a subject that needs to be addressed more. Let’s not turn our back on someone when they cry out for help. Thank you for a book that opens doors to forgiveness and shedding light on the darkness that surrounds those who are afraid to speak up.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Kathy grew up in northern Indiana, lived in three different continents while her husband was in the USAF, and now lives in the Florida Panhandle. She and her husband have eight children, five of whom are adopted, three from Haiti and two from the United States. They also have four grandchildren. Kathy’s favorite activities are those that involve traveling and adventures that include her children and grandchildren.
In order to better relate to the characters in her stories, Kathy has done things such as whitewater rafting, certify in scuba diving, and get her motorcycle endorsement. She draws the line at sky diving.
More from Kathy
I asked a friend if I could photograph her daughter to give the design team an idea of what I envisioned for the cover of Freerunner. I took action shots and mood shots (and even have some fun bloopers). When I sent them to the design team, they actually chose to use one of my photos for the cover. Now one of my friend’s daughters is on the cover of my first teen fiction book. She’s an amazing young lady, so it’s special to me to have her as the cover model.
The cover model is fifteen–year-old Larissa (fourteen when the cover photo was taken), who is part of an adoptive family that has twelve children. She and her brother were adopted as toddlers, and while Larissa doesn’t share Kia’s story, she has had struggles of her own. To accommodate some medical issues, she is homeschooled. She is involved in modeling, dance, musical theater and singing. The amazing part about Larissa performing is that because of the trauma of spending three years in foster care she struggled with selective mutism, not able to talk to anyone outside of her family. Amazingly she has been able to overcome it and is now able to express herself verbally as well as through music and dance. Larissa’s newest interest is photography, and she loves llamas and collecting realistic dolls.
Here are a few fun facts about Larissa:
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite sport: dance
Favorite Bible verse: Proverbs 3:5
Favorite Bible character: Noah
Favorite activity: singing and dancing
What do you want to be as an adult? Performer and photographer
What one thing do you want to do more than anything else? Walk a runway in Italy
What advice would you give a girl in Kia’s situation or in any abusive situation? Pray and ask an adult for help. You are the victim, it isn’t your fault.
Rebecca Tews, November 10
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11
Texas Book-aholic, November 12
Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 13 (Author Interview)
Inklings and notions, November 14
For Him and My Family, November 15
Library Lady Kid Lit, November 16
Wishful Endings, November 17 (Author Interview)
Artistic Nobody, November 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 18
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 19
Stories By Gina, November 21 (Author Interview)
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 21
deb’s Book Review, November 22
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 23
To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.