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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Ball's In Her Court by Heather Justesen

The Ball is in Her Court by Heather Justesen offers a straightforward, but sensitive view into the world of foster care and adoptive families. I was excited to hear about the topic matter of this book, it’s one I don’t feel has been “over-done” and I think Heather did an admirable job telling the story. So, first an introductory book trailer and portion of the backliner.

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.

Denise was a very likable character for me. She was a strong woman who still had flaws and problems that needed to be addressed. I loved the way Heather created a very realistic set of coping mechanisms for Denise. I also greatly appreciated the explanation of the grief and healing process. I think it was valuable information that many of us tend to look over. It applies to any difficult situation, sometimes we forget that those things can bury themselves deep within us, then find their way to the surface again when you least expect it. Healing is not quick and clean and sometimes those of us who find ourselves on the outside of that process looking in, forget to respect that process and the individual time table of another.

There were times when I read that things felt a little too repetitive-- a little too much emphasis on things that had already been explained to the reader being re-told. Some of it minor, one more major. It might just be me, and it may not necessary be anything negative overall. We all know I tend to be a little whiny where most would not see a problem, but in the few major incidences I felt a little cheated.

Let me explain. I, as a reader, had knowledge of how certain situations affected Denise. I knew what her reaction and thoughts would be. Denise knew, as well, but was still working through those issues (see the above thoughts on healing). There were just some times when I felt there was more of the story that could be told, a set of more in depth emotions and concerns I was still missing. Maybe not. Heather was focusing on what mattered most and made the greatest impact in the story. But I felt there were layers that we as a reader might need to know about, thoughts and ways of coping that weren't presented, that could be helpful to someone who found themselves in a similar real-life situation. Does that even make any sense? The Ball’s in Her Court was a book that made me want to understand and gave me greater compassion for people I might come in contact with. I’d bet it would have the same affect on you.

Try it out- You can read the first chapter of The Ball’s in Her Court on Heather’s website.

Thanks for a straightforward, yet still positive, look into a world most of us haven’t been close enough to in order to understand. You did a great job, Heather!

Heather is also celebrating her new release with a ton of give-aways on her blog, so stop by and get your name into the mix. You’ll also find the complete list of stops on her blog tour in the side bar of this blog.

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