Wednesday, March 16, 2016

5-Star Review of "Surviving Haley"

Review of Surviving Haley

by Brenda Baker


Lauren Werthman struggles with guilt and depression. Even moving to another state and into a new home doesn't help her overcome the life-altering aftermath of losing her sister. Memories of the tragic accident reverberate through her life as her family tries to cope, but Lauren's life spirals out of control. Her mother criticizes her choices every day, her father continues to work later and later, and people at her new school seem to know the family secret. Lauren binge-eats, has nightmares, and doubts the existence of a God Who didn't intervene to prevent the senseless tragedy. As Lauren's family and friends work through the pain and guilt, will they find that even though the void will always remain, the power of forgiveness brings peace and hope and a bright future, or will Lauren forever be lost to the pain and guilt?

     Truth:  Dads, if they love you, will lie about your appearance.  I knew this was the case, because two new zits studded my forehead, my hair was a tangled mess, and my clothes had more wrinkles than an octogenarian.  "I love you, too." 
     When the truck pulled away from the curb, it traveled several blocks before it turned left and disappeared from sight. I was on my own.  New school.  New life.  I didn't deserve either.  

My heart broke for Lauren and her parents as I read this novel.  I can not imagine the grief and guilt a family would feel after the accidental death of their five-year-old daughter and sister.   Lauren was supposed to be babysitting Haley when the accident happened.  The guilt and pain she carries are driving her to overeat to hide the pain and keep the tears at bay.  Her mother turns to self-medicating with liquid comfort and her father works longer and longer hours to avoid the entire family and the home.  Not only that, but Lauren has to deal with an entire new school.  Can she make new friends and ignore the local bullies?  

Her faith is put to the test as well.  She wonders how a loving God could allow the death of a sweet little girl.  Where will she find for comfort when she no longer wants to talk to God?  
This book was so touching and honest.  The author addresses grief, forgiveness, guilt, overeating, alcoholism, and bullying in this novel.  I especially appreciate that the author doesn't sugarcoat the issues.  They are dealt with head-on.   This book targets young adults but this old adult could not put it down.  

I rated this book 5 stars and am hoping many readers will purchase their own copies or find it in their local library to follow Lauren and her journey.  
I received a free copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

Brenda   Baker

Brenda Baker is a teacher who lives in Nebraska with her husband and a mixed husky. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, word games, swimming, traveling, and spending time with family.

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