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The Homecoming

The Homecoming

3.6 5
by Stacie Ramey

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A new, emotional novel from Stacie Ramey, the author of The Sister Pact

They say you can never go home-and John's about to find out just how true that is.

John's mother kicked him out of the house when she couldn't handle his anger, and John's spent the last few years bouncing between relatives. But after his last scrape with the law,


A new, emotional novel from Stacie Ramey, the author of The Sister Pact

They say you can never go home-and John's about to find out just how true that is.

John's mother kicked him out of the house when she couldn't handle his anger, and John's spent the last few years bouncing between relatives. But after his last scrape with the law, there's nowhere for him to go but home.

Starting senior year at a new high school and fitting into the family that shut him out is a challenge. And it's all that John can do to keep from turning back to bad habits. Lacrosse training helps him focus. As does Emily, the girl next door. She's sweet and smart, and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. Maybe he's ready to trust again. But tragedy has a way of finding John, and he must decide between saving his family or saving himself.

"A powerful story of redemption, forgiveness, love, and the ability to persevere."-VOYA on The Sister Pact

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A stirring close-up of a family haunted by emotional trauma" - Kirkus

"The overall message of relying on family and friends for support is clear, and John's pain and confusion are palpable... the male point of view distinguishes it in a field crowded with girls' perspectives. VERDICT A solid addition to YA collections.
" - School Library Journal

"This engaging story will appeal to all readers and will help troubled teens realize that there can be help out there for what's going on in their lives." - School Library Connection

"Ramey has penned a rare raw, emotion-packed romance from a male perspective, with themes of empowerment and self-actualization..." - Booklist

VOYA, December 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 5) - Bethany Martin
After an accident leaves his brother permanently disabled, John Strickland’s family falls to pieces. Devoting all her energy to Ryan, John’s mother neglects John and his younger sister, causing John to act out in anger. After one particularly disastrous outburst at age ten, John is sent to live with his father. Now, seven years later, John has moved back to home to live with his mother and siblings. A run-in with the law has John determined to turn his life around and put his past, including his brother’s accident and his girlfriend’s recent suicide, behind him, but will be able to find a way to trust other people and himself? John is an uneven character who never feels authentic. Descriptions of other characters are similarly off. Ryan was only nine when the accident happened, and John, seven; yet, John speaks about his memories of “Old Ryan,” making his brother seem several years older. Many plot elements are not fully developed, making them feel extraneous. This is particularly true of John’s relationship with Leah. The hurts and frayed relationships that the book works hard to make the reader care about tie up too neatly—all John needs to do is talk about the accident with girl-next-door Emily and admit to his family that he feels responsible and suddenly, everything is better. This book is an additional purchase for collections were realistic fiction with high doses of relationship drama are in demand; however, most readers will be left unsatisfied with the lack of development and too-easy resolution to John’s problems. Reviewer: Bethany Martin; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—After the accident that left his brother Ryan brain damaged, John's anger got the best of him and he was forced to leave his home. Seven years later, John is in trouble again and returns to the family who threw him out. It's a rough transition for him: he's a high school senior in a new school, he resumes playing lacrosse and starts getting back into shape, he's thinking seriously about his future and career goals, and his mom is still devoting most of her energy to Ryan's care (at the expense of her own health and well-being). The protagonist drowns his troubles in Jack Daniel's and a bit of pot, which might cause some trouble with his parole. He is on the brink of collapse, as are the rest of his family, and there's no clear way to help them without giving up everything he's worked for. The overall message of relying on family and friends for support is clear, and John's pain and confusion are palpable. He's 17 and handling things as well as an adolescent can. He sees a therapist and vents some of his rage, and breakthroughs come quickly. This is a fairly typical story of overcoming familial dramas and healing from tragedy, but the male point of view distinguishes it in a field crowded with girls' perspectives. VERDICT A solid addition to YA collections.—Brandy Danner, Coakley Middle School, Norwood, MA
Kirkus Review
Aug. 30, 2016
After years of alcohol and drug abuse, John reunites with his shattered family.A terrible accident has left John’s brother, Ryan, with severe brain damage, and the aftermath is destroying the family. Due to his destructive behavior as a 10-year-old, John was sent to live with his father, away from his sister, his mother, and Ryan, who must use a wheelchair. John spent many of those years self-anesthetizing with booze and pot. Now a senior in high school, John has returned home to face his family, escape the loss of his girlfriend, and try to stay clean. Every member of this damaged, white family struggles with crippling guilt over what happened to Ryan, and they are all bungling love, lashing out at one another. Despite extensive support from teachers, a therapist, a parole officer, and an exceptionally interesting girl, Emily, John resorts again and again to his chemical crutches. Meanwhile, Ryan can’t feed himself or walk and has violent outbursts, and their mom has developed a troubling cough. When another near tragedy occurs, the family is shaken from its cloudy malaise into clarity. Through John’s first-person voice, by turns vulnerable and angry, the story effectively builds up to an account of the accident from the outside in, very gradually revealing what actually occurred the day of Ryan’s injury. A stirring close-up of a family haunted by emotional trauma. (Fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
HL540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Stacie Ramey learned to read at a very early age to escape the endless tormenting from her older siblings. She attended the University of Florida where she majored in communication sciences and Penn State where she received a Master of Science degree in Speech Pathology. When she's not writing, she engages in Netflix wars with her children or beats her husband in Scrabble. She lives in Wellington, Florida with her husband, three children, and two rescue dogs.

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The Homecoming 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
The Homecoming is a contemporary YA novel about moving on after tragedy strikes. It’s about getting in touch with your feelings and opening up to those who love you. John’s brother was in a horrible accident when they were younger, and no one in his family has been the same since. After spending 7 years away, John is back with his mother, brother, and sister for his senior year of high school. He’s on probation after an altercation in Chicago (the timeline of which I never quite figured out), and he’s planning to just “do his time” until he can graduate and move to California to grow pot. This book is written in first person from John’s perspective, and it’s an interesting insight into the mind of a “bad boy.” There’s a lot of suppressed feelings and family drama and, of course, some romance thrown in. I don’t read many books narrated by boys, so this story was an interesting change. I enjoyed many of the characters, especially Emily (the girl next door) and Livy (John’s little sister). I was frustrated by the confusing timeline and the drawn out revealing of John’s past and emotions surrounding the accident from his childhood. This pacing was just a bit slow for me. It was an interesting story, but a bit of a struggle to get through. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-the-homecoming-by-stacie-ramey/
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
If you are wanting to read a book that is filled with some hard hitting topics you will be wanting to pick up The Homecoming. It has quite a few - suicide, abuse, family issues, drugs... Really, there is quite a bit. And that all being said...there are definitely some trigger warnings for The Homecoming! The Homecoming is about John. And John is one really messed up teen. He has been sent back to live with his mom and his two siblings after messing up big time and getting arrested for drugs while living with his dad and uncle. But the drugs and alcohol issues aren't all there is to John. First of all, he is haunted by the suicide of his girlfriend that happened a year before. Second, he has issues with his parents, especially his mom. And third, he has unresolved issues that sprung up around the accident that handicapped his older brother when he was around 7 or so years old. His brother, who now seems to be hitting and fighting back more and more - which is another thing that doesn't sit well with John. As you can tell, John has a lot of issues. Really, sometimes this book felt like it had too many issues for just one solo novel to contain and deal with adequately. And I don't think it necessarily did deal with them all fairly. The novel reads very quickly and I only felt like it just barely brushed upon a lot of the problems that John has. Almost as if it was trying to give him too many problems. Fewer problems with a more in depth approach of examining them and fully exploring them would have been better in my opinion. That, or making this a series and not so much of a stand alone story. And I think that leads to my next issue. I never really felt an in depth connection to John or any character really. Everyone felt only surface deep. There were so many problems going on with so many different people and I wanted to be able to feel them with them, but I just couldn't. And then there were the side characters that didn't have much of a role at all...and they all felt the same. And as for all the issues and problems John faced throughout this story, and he faced quite a few, I found myself having problems with his dependency of drugs and alcohol. Every time something go tough all he wanted to do was smoke and drink. It was all he could think of. However, never did anyone outside of him mention anything about his problem. Not his therapist, not his parents...NO ONE. To me it screamed addict, but for whatever reason this was never ever brought up. Almost as though it wasn't important. And that really bothered me. But all this being said, it isn't a bad story and it is a very decent read. I enjoyed it well enough. And like I said earlier, it is actually a pretty quick read. I need to read The Sister Pact - the companion novel - to see how John is mentioned in that story and find out more about the suicide of his girlfriend. This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Find more of my reviews here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/
Boundlessbookreviews More than 1 year ago
When I started reading, The Homecoming. It took me a really long time to get into it. Could've just been the timing and the overall theme of the story. John has been living with his Uncle after being kicked out of the house. A lot has happened with this family. The tragic accident and the constant blame that John places on himself. He has a lot of anger as well. So coming home, the whole family dynamic is out of whack. I think that with everything John is dealing with, would be extremely hard as a teenager. I understood him. Also, with the next door neighbor in the picture. This story wasn’t bad. It was good. But I didn’t connect with the characters, on a level that I love to. I wasn’t able really feel the emotions that were coming off the page. That being said, I gave it Three Boundless Stars....Lissa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honest and gut-wrenching with moments of humor, Stacie Ramey's THE HOMECOMING is the perfect companion to the THE SISTER PACT. Ramey has the uncanny ability to get inside her character's hearts and heads. We feel their pain and rejoice in their triumphs because we are experiencing every moment with them. I love the character of John Strickland, the bad-boy with a heart of gold. Ramey makes us feel for John and understand why he is the way he is. All of the characters had the potential to be cardboard cutouts: the overbearing mom, the distant dad, the goody goody girlfriend. But in Ramey's capable hands the characters jump off the page as fully developed people. John's struggles to come to terms with his screwed up family felt completely real and I was riveted from page one. I loved this character when he was a minor player in THE SISTER PACT. It was great getting to know him and see him change and grow in THE HOMECOMING. Ramey's writing just keeps getting better and better. I'm looking forward to seeing more from this incredible author.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"The Homecoming" tells the story of John who has returned home 7 years after his brother, Ryan's, tragic accident which left him permanently handicapped. John has gotten himself into trouble despite numerous adults trying to help him and his pushing them away. As one described it, John is picking up all these rocks of bad memories, mistakes, and problems, and they are dragging him down. He carries literal scars from his parents' fights and takes care of his sister, since his mother is too busy taking care of Ryan and his father is too busy being gone. Enter Emily. His next door neighbor who has familial problems of her own (which are not really clarified). Their romance is a very small part of the book overall and felt like a bit of an afterthought. This is ok though, since John has more than enough else going on to keep the book full and moving. John is still reeling from his girlfriend's suicide and not really ready to let go or move on. He is stuck in the past. He uses drugs and alcohol to help escape. Although his parents aren't the best, his mother is clearly trying, being an imperfect person herself. He has an incredible number of other adults who are on his side and helping him to grow/become the person he could be. He could have easily fallen through the cracks and gone to jail if he didn't have so many adults looking out for him. He's really a pretty lucky kid in that way (e.g. his probation officer putting off a drug test when he wouldn't pass or reporting him; the teacher he shoves not pressing charges; etc.). The novel is written well and keeps the reader captivated in this tangled mess of memories and experiences. It's emotionally draining, giving the reader a glimpse into John's mind and feelings. Not your light, summer read. This is much heavier and deals with some very big issues (I.e. handicapped children, neglect/abuse, suicide, drugs/alcohol abuse) in a way that they are viewed by John, who has been affected by all of them. I found out after reading that this is a companion, but I think it worked as a stand alone book. I don't think anything was missing/it was complete on its own. The ending was positive, but it's a strenuous journey. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.