Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're shining the spotlight on a Young Adult title that while a work of Fiction, takes its cues from actual events that occurred around West Virginia. Curious? You should be...but before we fully begin, I must warn you...there are dark times ahead. As the title of my post implies, still waters run deep and the journey through the pages you are embarking on is much more than the sum of its title and cutesy cover. Ladies and gents, please direct your attention to today's ebook of choice...
Little Creek Books
About the book...
In this debut novel from author Amber D. Tran, a tale of adolescence and heartbreak unfolds. Nine-year-old Abigail Kavanagh first meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999. A shy and awkward boy, Ryan hides behind his wide-framed glasses while Abigail is determined to learn everything there is to know about him. The next few summers are filled with birthday parties, adventures in and around the West Virginian mountainsides, and late night conversations where they share their most secretive and personal thoughts.
Their friendship starts to crumble when Abigail befriends the attractive and musical Lilly Anderson, a girl who is also interested in uncovering the mysterious nature surrounding Ryan. However, everything comes to an end the summer of 2004, and Abigail must decide if her new journey is worth traveling alone.
A curious read indeed that deals with some VERY heavy topics, so I certainly agree with some of the other reviews I read about it being more than it seemed. I quite literally went in with my eyes closed and while it may have colored my experience, it still produced quite an impact. That being said...
It's hard to truly rate a story like this that deals in death, darkness, depression, delusion, drugs, and other activities that are meant to cause self harm yet ripple effect out to so many more. I mean, the lives shown here could have been anyone, anywhere, even those you know having similar outcomes or perhaps lucking out with an intervention arriving at just the right moment to sway final decisions... so simply saying "I loved it" or "I loathed it" doesn't seem to cut the mustard. In lieu of a severe decision in either direction, let me share what moved, touched, or otherwise struck me as I was exploring these epages...
I appreciated the way the author broached the issues the characters were dealing with in their teen years. While it is hard for anyone to talk about things they are going through, it seems that much harder in our youth as we're just discovering who we are and trying so desperately to find our place. When we progressed in years in the story, so did the author in how she addressed the changes occurring...sharing with some friends but still not those in authority or parental roles...including the brick wall that couldn't seemed to be broken through to reach them with more than simply sage advice. She gave those who've lost their voice a chance to find it once again and see that there is another way, there are people who can/will help, and no one is truly alone if they only reach out. However, there were parts that I couldn't quite reconcile. I struggled with the disturbing sexual aspects introduced with characters so very young... pedophiles, odd "join our group" initiations (WTH? Do kids really DO things like that? Boy was I sheltered!), and experimenting (drugs, sex, limits, you name it)...it just seemed like one too many elements for a story, let alone this group, when they were already dealing with so many. Can that happen in real life? Yes...I'm sure it does, but for a work of Fiction, or this one in particular, it felt like the last straw added to the camel's back.
In the end, it was still a page turner despite the extreme lack of actual happy endings in sight, but it does splash a cold dose of reality in the face of those that perhaps find it hard to imagine these things transpiring. Yes, it's fiction, but it could just as easily NOT be. Something to think about the next time you notice someone having a rough time of things...there may be more there than you think.
About the author...
Born and raised in the heart of the Appalachia, Amber spent her childhood growing up on gravel roads and playing Pokémon Red on her Game Boy Color. At the age of 10, she discovered her fascination with creative writing and turned a 1-page homework assignment into a 35-page document for her 5th grade teacher. Less than a year later, she wrote her very first book about a female basketball player with leukemia. She will spare you the pain from having to read it.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from West Virginia University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a concentration in creative writing, Amber moved to northern Alabama. She married her husband after meeting him in a Dragon Ball Z chat room. She is currently employed as a senior technical writer and Scrum Master for a software company. In her free time, she enjoys playing League of Legends and meeting with girlfriends at Café 153.
Amber is part of the West Virginia Writers Group, Inc., the Alabama Writers’ Forum, and the Alabama Writers Conclave. She is also the Editor-in-Chief for the Cold Creek Review literary journal. Her work has been featured in Sonic Boom Journal, Spry Literary Journal, Cheat River Review, Speculative 66, Visitant Literary Journal, HeartWood Literary Magazine, and more.
Amber currently lives in Alabama with her husband and two dogs, Ahri and Ziggs.
Moon River is her first novel.
Special thanks to author Amber Tran for the ebook for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, or the author, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title was released September 2016 via Little Creek Books, an imprint of Jan-Carol Publishing, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!