Hope in Patience

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fehlbaum returns to the setting, characters, and events of her debut novel, Courage in Patience (Kunati, 2008) as 15-year-old Ashley Asher continues to cope with the sexual and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather. Still living in Patience, Tex., with her father and stepmother, Ashley is rebuilding her life through therapy, new friends, and the support of her family. But old scars run deep, and Ashley relives the abuse in her nightmares and cannot accept the fact that her mother has chosen her husband, the abuser, over Ashley. The story starts slowly, with multiple flashbacks; despite the emotional tension, whether Ashley will continue to heal is never in doubt. Fehlbaum, an abuse survivor herself, doesn't shy away from the brutality Ashley has suffered and the painful road she must walk. Her details are achingly real, though there's little subtlety in the delivery of her messages, and some scenes feel over the top, as when the school principal inexplicably starts shaking Ashley when she cries in his office. Still, sympathetic Ashley will have readers rooting for her. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Alisa Billig
At first I thought this book was only for abuse victims, and that it was going to be another weepy story about how miserable life can be. I was astounded to find that anyone can relate to Ashley's story and that the book was remarkably optimistic and fun. It teaches many valuable lessons on overcoming problems in a captivating way. I strongly recommend others to read it. 5Q,4P. Reviewer: Alisa Billig, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Jennifer Zhan
While this book was hard to put down, its defects unfortunately remain foremost in my mind. I feel for Ashley—her situation is awful—but the way she casually describes that situation makes me question its gravity. More importantly, the other characters are a bit hackneyed: the sassy best friend, the understanding and cool parent/teacher, the cute love interest, the mean girl. It should not be this easy to discern "good" and "evil" characters. 2Q,4P. Reviewer: Jennifer Zhan, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
This is not a light, easy teen book. It is, however, an important read. It covers some timely, but sometimes controversial topics in a way that is highly accessible to today's teens. After six years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather, Ashley Asher, fifteen, has just moved to tiny Patience, Texas. Her father, a recovering alcoholic whom she has not seen since she was three months old, has straightened out his life and become her refuge along with his new wife Bev, a high school English teacher. Patience is nothing like the suburbs of Dallas, but it is here that she begins to take the slow, painful steps necessary to deal with her past. Ashley's road to recovery is not pretty and is not easy. She sometimes resorts to cutting to deal with the pain. She sometimes, in dealing with traumatic flashbacks, finds herself hiding in the armoire. She also struggles to deal with the accusatory actions—and blatant inactions—of the mother she thought loved her. But recovering from sexual abuse is not the only topic touched on here. There is Z.Z., an African-American in a small, mostly-white southern town; K.C., whose parents will not accept her homosexuality; and Marcus, whose religion is the driving force in his life. Ashley's struggles to make friends in a new school, to fit in, to figure out who she is are normal teen issues even if her personal history is not. Even readers who have not been abused will connect with Ashley and her friends. Their voices are real. Their struggles are real. For those who have or are dealing with similar issues, this book speaks up where perhaps they cannot. A 2011 YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, this title deserves a place in every high school and community library. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
VOYA - Rebecca Moore
When fifteen-year-old Ashley's stepfather, who has molested her for years, finally rapes her, the abuse comes to light, and Ashley is sent to the father she has not seen since babyhood. There she begins the long process of trying to heal, both from the abuse and her mother's denial of the truth. Trying to help are her cut-no-slack therapist, her loving father and stepmother, and new friends at school. Pulling her back are the judicial system's failure to punish her stepfather, intentional and off-handed cruelty at school, her mother's continuing rejection, and her own uncontrollable terror reactions—including self-harm. Her therapist urges her to stop trying to change the past, to determine her own future, and to "just wait" before she reacts. But will Ashley ever be ready to do that? This challenging, painful book carries a strong message of healing for abuse survivors. Unfortunately, its first part is awkwardly written. The chronology is confusing, some information is revealed too soon and too clinically, and some is inexplicably withheld. All of this, combined with black-and-white characters, emotionally distances the reader. The book mostly redeems itself in the last three quarters, however, driving relentlessly through Ashley's agonizing recovery efforts and heart-breaking setbacks. As her emotions run the gamut of rage, terror, self-loathing, and despair, leavened with moments of hope and healing, readers will root for her on the edges of their seats. Try this with older girls who can handle the grim subject matter and the graphic descriptions. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Ashley Asher lives with her father and stepmother in a tiny town in East Texas. She wants what any 15-year-old might want: friends, a supportive family, a special relationship with a boy. But Ashley struggles to stop harming herself, to stop dissociating, to accept the support of the people around her. Before she came to Patience, Ashley spent most of her childhood with an indifferent mother and an abusive stepfather. Now she faces the huge challenge of healing from emotional neglect, as well as sexual and physical abuse. She tries, but trust is so hard to come by. And the challenges keep coming. There's a court date when she must face her abuser and the mother who rejects her for reporting the assaults. And a first date on Halloween turns into a disaster when an actor playing a ghoul triggers a posttraumatic reaction in Ashley. All this is tough stuff, but very real to anyone who has lived with abuse or suffered from PTSD. The author is to be applauded for her courageous and accurate portrayal of the many small steps that lead toward psychological healing. It is Ashley's friendships with other "misfits," as much as the support of her new family and her unconventional therapist, that help Ashley understand that she is not alone and that she, too, deserves love. Teens who are attracted by her honesty and her compelling story will come away with a deeper understanding of trauma and healing. This book will open hearts and might well save lives.—Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934813416
  • Publisher: Westside Books
  • Publication date: 10/15/2010
  • Pages: 312
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum is the second book in a three

    Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum is the second book in a three book series. This series deals with a very real life experience for many children. Hope in Patience tells a powerful story of continued abuse and how one 15 year old girl dealt with it.

    Fifteen year old Ashley Asher’s childhood was taken away from her by her stepfather Charlie. Ashley suffered many years of sexual abuse from her stepfather. As if this was not painful enough for her, her mother did not believe her when she finally had the courage to tell her what was happening. Ashley thankfully went to live with her biological father (whom she had never had a relationship with) in Patience, Texas. There she tries to rebuild her life with new family, friends and therapy. She is often pained with nightmares and relives her abuse. She is having a difficult time accepting that her mother chose her stepfather over her.

    The author Beth Fehlbum makes Ashley’s abuse a very real experience for the reader. I found my heart aching for Ashley while reading this story. I love how Beth Fehlbum doesn’t continually focus on Ashley’s abuse throughout the entire story. She makes this a story of hope for others like Ashley. So many young girls that have been abused need to realize that there are others out there like them who have overcome their tragic experience and are now living their lives.

    Many people are very uncomfortable talking about sexual abuse. However, sexual abuse is a very real problem in the world around us today. I would definitely recommend this series to any teenage girl who has suffered abuse.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great job - especially since you can easily read this book out of sequence - author provides enough background (as needed).

    Ashley finally escaped her nightmare of a home with her mother and is beginning to make a little progress with her father's family. The many years of abuse have left her very fragil and it doesn't take a lot to set her back. Her new family always stands by her and she keeps gaining ground. You do not recover from such long lasting abuse easily and often the family members of the abusive home refuse to acknowledge that the abuse ever happened. The story is very moving and the characters are fully realized. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hope in Patience is a poignant, heartbreaking story of a teenage girl on the long road to recovery after years of abuse.

    Hope in Patience is up there with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Willow by Julia Hoban as some of the most moving YA books that deal with abusive situations. This is one of those books that, when you finish reading it, you wish you could give a copy to every girl who's ever been abused.

    I thought that the main character, Ashley, was extremely well-written. Though I've never (thankfully!) been abused myself, I had no trouble empathizing with her situation. The author did a wonderful job of capturing the pain and raw emotion that Ashley felt while trying to move on from her past.

    One of the parts I enjoyed the most was how realistic the community of Patience was. Ashley lives in a small town, and with that sometimes comes small-minded people. Growing up in a small town myself, I found parallels between characters in the book and people that I had grown up with. The character of Marcus, an extremely conservative, judgmental, Bible-thumping teen, really evoked an emotional response in me. I knew a lot of kids in high school who acted in almost the exact same way, and I've never found it easy to deal with. Not that I think that religion is a bad thing, but characters like Marcus are the ones who give it a bad name. However, just because Ashley lives in a small town doesn't mean that everyone is ignorant and prejudiced. There are many kind, loving people who are present as well, and they really make an impact on both Ashley and the story as a whole.

    Hope in Patience isn't a story about abuse. It's a story of love, hope, and perseverance in adversity. It's about facing your past and learning to move on. For fans of Hush (Eishes Chayil), Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson), Willow (Julia Hoban), or Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher), Hope in Patience is a must-read!

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A story of recover, not abuse

    This is a harsh story, and my heart broke for Ashley over and over again while I was reading it. It is not a book that will be immediately accessible to a wide audience. It is a book that shows how one young woman is able to overcome years of sexual and emotional abuse with the help of some solid family and friends, and as such, it it has the power to provide exactly what the title suggests, hope, if it gets into the right hands.

    Ashley's abuse at the hands of her step-father is definitely a focal point of Hope in Patience, even though it is all in the past at the opening of the book (though it does still manage to be graphic in places). Her mother's emotional abuse, however, manages to still reach Ashley in Patience and still tear Ashley to bits. It is that, more than facing her step-father at trial that puts up roadblocks on Ashley's road to normalcy. It is also what makes it so hard for Ashley to trust that her father and step-mother really love her, want her around, and have her best interest at heart.

    Ashley's scared, kind, bold, shy, and overly aware of herself in the way that folks in therapy often are. And she's funny. And not broken. Fehlbaum, in Ashley, has managed to show that a person can go through hell and back, be totally and in some ways irrevocably scarred, and still not lose what make them them. Ashley displays fierce loyalties to her friends, K.C. and Z.Z. especially, even when she's struggling to hold herself together. And they do the same for her when she needs it the most. And there's Joshua. He's cute, he's on the track team, and he like Ashley, which in a lot of ways terrifies her. Learning to trust him with all of her issues is the Big Thing in this book. It's the Big Problem and also the Big Indication of Growth. It's also really sweet.

    Hope in Patience is ultimately about how Ashley grows out of the shell that years of abuse put her in. It is the powerful story of how she stops being Ashley-who-was-abused and becomes just Ashley.

    Book source: ARC provided by the publisher.

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