'A feel-good story for both heart and soul.' --Kirkus Reviews
'An impressive debut.' --Publishers Weekly Can love really heal all things?
If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept.
Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||15 - 18 Years|
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By Rachel Coker
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2012 Rachel Coker
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA chilly Peace infests the Grass The Sun respectful lies— Not any Trance of industry These shadows scrutinize.
I stared at the ceiling in silence. Although it was so dark I don't think it could really be called staring at all. More like tilting my chin up in that direction.
My room was cold and quiet, the moon casting eerie shadows through my window over the things that, at thirteen years old, I held dear. My china doll, my stuffed bears, my book collection ...
"Alcyone," a voice whispered.
I gasped and jerked my head toward the door.
Mama stood by my bed, clad in a milky-white nightgown, her long, dark hair falling down her shoulders. She held a finger up to her lips.
"Come on, Allie," she whispered, grabbing my wrist gently. "I want you to see the stars."
My heart still thumping, I followed her down the hallway, my bare feet pattering on the cold wooden floor. The moon shone on the clock by the staircase. 2:52.
I rubbed my eyes groggily. "Where are we—"
Mama halted in the doorway of the kitchen, the moonlight illuminating her from the back.
"Close your eyes."
I did, and let her lead me out the little door until I could feel the damp grass between my toes. I shivered at everything I could feel and sense: the chilly air, the chirping crickets, the dewy earth ...
"Open them," Mama commanded, lowering her hold from my wrist to my hand.
I did, and the first thing I saw was heaven, the way it was meant to look from earth.
Millions of dazzling stars were strung across the sky above us. Twinkling and dancing and singing. My heart skipped a beat.
I knelt on the ground beside Mama and stretched back to see as much of the sky as possible. It just seemed to go on and on, covering the fields around us with a sweet and heavy blanket.
I tilted my head and racked my brain for words to describe it. Eerie ... dreamy ... alluring ... enthralling ... breathtaking.
"The moon is distant from the sea," Mama murmured, "and yet with amber hands, she leads him, docile as a boy, along appointed sands."
I turned to look at Mama. She was staring at the sky, a strange look on her face. She was so beautiful ... so light and delicate.
I was confused. "Mama," I whispered, "we aren't at the sea." I'd never been to the sea, and I was quite sure she hadn't been in many, many years.
Mama's lips upturned in a little smile. "That was Dickinson."
She reached over and stroked my cheek. Her eyes had a faroff mist. "One day you'll understand, Allie. One day you'll be a great writer too."
"Is that what you want of me?" I whispered.
Mama nodded slowly, stroking my cheek. "Yes, my miracle. I want you to write and I want you to be happy."
I longed to ask more questions, but Mama was so peaceful that night I rolled back around and stared at the stars in silence while Mama sang softly in French. I painted in my mind the sweetest dream of a lifetime spent gardening the stars.
Mama had a beautiful voice. It was high and clear. When she sang it sounded like dozens of little tinkling bells. I used to lie awake in bed and listen to her play the piano and sing from the foyer until my eyelids slid down and shut.
For the last six years, it had been the two of us, just like this. I was born when Mama thought she was already an old woman: 1925, the year she turned forty-seven. She always called me her "miracle baby" as a result.
All Mama and I had were each other. Mama said that the world was full of people—and people are full of evil. She told me there was no one and nothing you could trust but where you come from and who you are. We didn't talk to those evil people. We kept to ourselves and spent our time keeping busy.
I heard a meow from across the yard. "Daphne," I whispered, holding out my hands for my little orange kitten. I held her close and whispered in her little feline ears the names of the different constellations. "And that one right there is Taurus—it holds the star Alcyone, just like my name. See, Daphne?" I yawned, smiling. Daphne purred and settled her head on my stomach. I stared at my namesake. "I'm a star, aren't I?"
The moon began to grow hazy and dim as my eyelids started to drop. Mama rubbed my back with one hand and sang to herself as I drifted off to sleep.
* * *
Saturday was window-washing day. I was in charge of the downstairs windows, and Mama took care of the upstairs.
I wrung my cloth in the water and created swirly marks on the windowpane. I sighed and let the rag slide down the glass, leaving behind a soapy trail.
Upstairs, I could hear Mama belting out the words to her favorite opera. I rocked back and forth on my heels as I scrubbed the kitchen windows, swishing the rag along with the song.
The doorbell rang.
I dropped my washcloth and ran to the door, pausing to fix my apron and hair. "Who is it?" I called.
"Sam Carroll," came the muffled response.
My shoulders dropped. Great. I opened the door and frowned. "What do you want, Sam?"
Sam grinned, handing me a bouquet of wildflowers and a little wrapped parcel. "Happy birthday, Allie."
I sighed. "My birthday isn't until tomorrow."
Sam continued to grin, oblivious to my irritation. "I know. But we're going out of town to visit my aunt Rachel, who lives right on the seashore where you can actually go out and swim and everything, and we won't be back for three weeks, so I thought I'd give you your gift today." He took a deep breath before handing me the parcel, grinning all the while.
I tried to smile back. Now, don't get me wrong. Sam Carroll wasn't a creep or bully or anything. It's just that he was ... well, he was Sam Carroll, for goodness' sake. I'd only known him for forever and he'd only followed me around for even longer. For nearly fourteen years I'd endured Sam's freckled face and wayward brown hair and adoring blue eyes.
I was kind of sick of him.
"Thanks, Sam," I said, trying to shut the door.
"Alcyone!" Mama called from upstairs.
I grimaced. "Yes, ma'am?"
"Who's at the door?"
"It's just Sam Carroll, Mama!"
"Oh." There was a pause and then Mama was at the door behind me, smiling at Sam. "How lovely of you to drop by, Sam."
"Thank you, Mrs. Everly." Sam pulled his hands out of his pockets and blushed. "I was just dropping off Allie's birthday gift."
"How lovely." Mama stroked my hair and smiled at me. "Alcyone, dear, did you thank Sam?"
Why does she insist on calling me Alcyone whenever company's around? She never does it any other time. I forced another smile. "Thank you, Sam."
"Won't you stay for tea?" Mama asked, wiping her dirty hands on her apron. "We were just about to take a break and enjoy some cookies in the garden."
"Thank you," Sam said, following us into the house.
I glared at Mama's back as we walked through the hall.
"So, Allie, are you turning fourteen?"
Sam. I glanced at him out of the side of my eye, annoyed because he was interrupting my glaring. "Yes."
"Are you having a party?"
I frowned at him. With what friends? "No."
Mama led us out into the garden, where a little table was set up with three chairs. What?
As if reading my mind, Sam asked, "Who else were you expecting?"
"You," Mama said simply, turning back into the house to get the pitcher of lemonade.
Now that we were alone, Sam pulled out my chair and then sat down next to me. Daphne pranced up and rubbed her head against Sam's leg, and he leaned down to stroke Daphne's furry little head. I turned my glare to her. Traitor.
Daphne purred and playfully swatted Sam's hand. Sam laughed. "Hey, watch it!" He sat back and looked around in wonder. "Your garden looks amazing."
It was amazing, of course. That's what generally happens when you have an unsociable, fantasy-prone mother.
"Thank you," Mama said, shutting the screen door with a bang. "The roses bloomed nicely this year, didn't they? Alcyone tended them. I didn't touch a single bud, I swear." She smiled at me as she served us lemonade, and I noticed she'd gotten out her best pitcher. I stared at her hands. They were white and smooth, seemingly untouched. I propped my chin up. How does she keep her hands so pretty?
Suddenly one of them began to shake. Mama put down the pitcher with a thud and crossed her hands behind her back. She was shivering, though, and she turned her head.
Sam nodded, picking up a giant cookie. "The roses are beautiful."
I glanced across the garden and studied my work. I'd decided long ago to plant nothing but pink and white roses, winding down the garden path and up the old white trellis that shadowed the little gazebo where Mama was married.
Beside the gazebo was a little pond of goldfish surrounded by lilies and guarded by a weathered stone angel. On the other side of the garden were four thin stone pathways, lined with colorful flowers, all leading up to a cushioned little bench.
"Your garden makes my little bouquet seem puny, Mrs. Everly," Sam said, popping a blueberry into his mouth.
"Well, it took years of hard labor to get it this way." Mama beamed and looked over her garden.
And an extremely devoted daughter. I took a bite out of my cookie, washing it down with a sip of lemonade.
"I wanted to create a place where the fairies could play," Mama said softly, still gazing over the flowers, now with a distant look on her face. "Where nothing could go wrong." She twisted her empty ring finger.
I exchanged a glance with Sam, a little embarrassed.
"Mama, would you please pass the cream cheese?" I interrupted.
Mama snapped out of her daze. "Of course, darling."
"These are wonderful cookies," Sam said through a mouthful of food. He gulped and smiled.
"Thank you. It was my grandmother's recipe. She used it during the Civil War."
"Oh?" Sam dabbed his mouth with a napkin.
Uh-oh. Here we go with the Battle of Atlanta. I sunk in my seat. The one thing she had to be able to remember perfectly.
"It was the Battle of Atlanta. In 1864," Mama began, gazing at the sky. "The summer had been unbearably hot. My grandmother thought it would never end."
I grabbed another cookie and ran through different musings in my head, tuning Mama out. I suppose I should have bailed out Sam and changed the subject, but at the moment I didn't feel in any rush to assist him at all. He's the one who got her started on that long story anyway.
I twisted the ring on my pinky finger and thought of words to describe Sam. Annoying ... nosy ... bothersome ... dopey ...
"And then he ..." Mama paused, a confused look on her face. Her brow tightened as she concentrated. "He ..."
Sam frowned. "He did what, Mrs. Everly?"
Mama squinted up at the sky. "I can't ... I can't remember."
I glanced at her. "It's okay, Mama. Don't strain yourself." I sat on my hands, resisting the urge to get up and wrap my arms around her.
She frowned, her eyes not meeting mine. "I'm fine."
"Wow," Sam said after a somewhat awkward silence. "What a story."
Mama nodded. "Yes. Grandmother was quite the woman."
Sam nodded, his eyes enthusiastic. "I love war stories. I'm going to be in the army one day too."
"Oh." Mama rubbed her finger along the rim of her glass. "I'm sorry ... I just wish I could remember ..." She frowned and looked around the table. "Allie, where's the salt shaker?"
I lowered my voice. "Mama, it's right in front of you."
"Oh." Mama rubbed her forehead. "I didn't see it."
Sam nodded again and pushed back from the table. "Thank you so much for the tea, Mrs. Everly. And happy birthday, Allie."
I didn't meet his eye. He was such a goody two-shoes. He didn't deserve to be said good-bye to. Not in a million years would I ever ...
"Alcyone," Mama whispered through gritted teeth.
"Good-bye" I looked down.
Sam nodded at us both and walked back toward the house.
"Have fun at your aunt's house," Mama called, waving at him.
I sighed and went inside to practice the piano. The windows could wait a little longer.
* * *
"What did that boy give you?"
My head jolted up from my mashed potatoes. "What boy?"
Mama's face glowed from the candlelight that lined the table. We were sitting in the garden, watching the fireflies dance in the cool evening breeze. "Sam."
"Oh." I played with my potatoes. "A sketchbook and chalk set." I made a face. It was exactly what I wanted. Sam had been listening when I went on and on about painting on our way home from school last week. To fill the silence, of course. I'd already forced down the pleasure from Sam knowing what I wanted and convinced myself he just wanted to annoy me with his obnoxious niceness.
"That's nice." Mama pushed her plate away. She sighed to herself and gazed over my shoulder, a strange look on her face.
I continued to mess with my potatoes in silence a few more minutes. "I haven't drawn anything yet," I said finally. "But I'd like to know if you'll pose for me tonight."
"Of course," Mama said. She frowned at something behind me.
I looked over my shoulder, curious as to what she was staring at. There was nothing there except a few blackbirds perched on top of the house.
"Any ideas as to how you'd like me to draw you?"
Mama continued to stare into the distance.
Mama's head jerked as she looked around, disoriented. "What— Where am I?"
I reached my arm across the table and stroked her hand. "You're in the garden, Mama. Don't you see?" I massaged her wrist, fighting back worry.
"Hmm?" Mama looked around groggily.
"Mama," I whispered, pulling her up to her feet, "maybe you should go inside for the night."
Mama trudged to the kitchen, muttering to herself, as I cleaned up the dishes in the garden.
When the last of the silverware was put away and the candles were snuffed, I grabbed my notebook and headed out to the hills to watch the sun set.
The countryside of Tennessee was a place of great beauty, one that never ceased to fill my mind. When I sat upon the highest hill, I could see for miles around me, the rolling grass engulfing me in large green pools. The Carroll's little farmhouse, Mr. Ward's old tractors, the Peterson's horses ... and my own little house, a quaint smudge in the distance.
I opened up my notebook and took out the new set of chalks Sam gave me. He'll never have to know I actually used them.
I flipped to a new page and began to fill in the colors of the sun sinking behind the old white church. Fiery red, burnt orange, creamy yellow.
The only sounds I could hear were the scraping of my chalk over the distant neighing of the horses being led back into their stables.
I bent my head over my drawing and shaded in the vibrant reflection from the pond near the church. My eyes flickered up. The sky was beginning to turn gray.
I held back my notebook to observe the drawing. Not bad.
I turned the page and smoothed out the creamy white paper. In the top corner, I wrote,
May 28, 1939.
I wonder if the great poets and artists of the world ever came to Tennessee. I bet that if they had, the beauty of these hills and farms would have been drawn all over their minds for years to come. I know that they will always be drawn on mine.
Sometimes, when I come up here, I feel like I'm closer to God. Or the heavens. I've never told Mama that. She doesn't think that God exists–doesn't believe in a life after death. I know I should believe her, that I shouldn't question anything she says, but yet I still wonder. What is there outside this tiny world and all our short lifetimes?
I wish I had a friend.
I flipped the notebook shut and laid back on the grass, listening to my heart beat until everything around me was nearly dark. Then I stumbled back home and tucked myself into bed.
Excerpted from Interrupted by Rachel Coker Copyright © 2012 by Rachel Coker . Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What I Loved I loved the emotions that leaped off the page. This book made me feel. Sorry for Allie. Sorrow for her loss. Hurt for how hurt she felt. Happy-but-almost-afraid-to-feel-happy when Sam made her laugh at the beach in that first sweet scene after they're reunited and she figures out where she knows him from. I also loved that although, yes, author Rachel Coker is seventeen years old, her style is mature. Not just for her age, either. Mature, period, in a grab-my-heart-glue-my-hands-to-this-story way. It's evident from the first line that Allie is a strong, capable heroine. But in order to protect herself, she bars her heart against the unforgiving world and the God her mother has told her not to believe in. Her journey toward faith in others, faith in God, and faith in love is an inspiring one. The Christian message is not preachy or pushy, but woven intricately within the storyline. The ending left me with a sigh and a smile. Sam, oh, adorable, heart-warming Sam. What I Didn't Like As Much The book started slowly for me. It took me a few days to read the first seventy pages or so, but from the moment Sam reenters Allie's life, the story is off like a roller coaster as she experiences smiles and sadness, the best and the bitter. Why I Recommend This Book The struggles of not only Allie, but for the people who surround her are so...genuine. I truly loved this story. I would recommend it for anyone who has experienced as devastating a loss as Allie's, because the author writes of the deep emotions with great grace. Historically-accurate, Interrupted put me in that WWII era (there was even a scene set on June 7th, my birthday, that opened my eyes into how it must have felt to live through the news trickling in about the invasion of Normandy). It also put me into Allie's heart as she hurts and heals. I actually wasn't aware before I read it that it was romantic, but it is, and in a lovely way.
A great coming of age novel! I wasn't really sure what to expect of this book. I read it because I had read a review that said it was great. I am really happy that I did! This is a wonderful novel set before and during World War II. It is a coming of age novel, and one where the main character Allie, faces hardships. Will she choose to let go of her anger and bitterness and allow room in her heart to love and be loved? The story is very well written and the plot was easy to follow. I appreciated the emotions felt by Allie during the course of the book and am amazed that a fifteen year old author could express this so well in her writing! I wish there had been a bit more to the ending. I would have loved an epilogue to wrap everything up all nice and tidy. Other than that, I have no complaints. I would definitely read more books from Rachel Coker. I received this book for free but I was under no obligation to review it.
Um... Wow!! I think age disappears in writing, I really do. But I've never read a book where I felt so completely like I was 14 again. The incredible thing about Rachel Coker is not that she has such a good grasp on youth... she is a youth!! But that her writing is so seamlessly smooth!! She has skill and perspective that make this book very unique. On my copy there's a quote from Publisher's Weekly: "Coker is one to watch" and I have to agree 100%. Interrupted has a somber tone. The main character, Alcyone, faces some difficult circumstances and grows hard & bitter. Her friend, Sam, is a neat character. Both of them are complicated, multi-layered. I was pretty much in awe of all the supporting cast. They are alive and vibrant. The setting is beautiful and completely 1930 - 1940's. I could picture the lake, the ocean, the beach, the local hang-out. There was old-time chivalry, parties with dancing, cute polka dot dresses. In fact, "cute" describes the main feel of reading, rather like a (somber) flitting butterfly dancing along Ally's inner conflict. It feels weird to close the book and find myself in the present day. The pace of life and the values of the community were very refreshing. Ally's search for God and meaning was realistic, too. I would have liked more romance, maybe. And maybe a little less time-jumping, 'cause that pulled me out of the moment, away from my connection with Ally, and left me catching up. But that just brings me around full circle to the beginning - I was just transported over seventy years back in time, where I felt completely at home. So... Wow! My Rating: 3.5 - Worth the Time, Cute and better-than-cute.
I really enjoyed Rachel Coker's debut novel. Allie's devotion to caring for her mother is endearing. When her mother dies, the woman who adopts Allie seems to expect a natural closeness between them. Allie digs her heels in, reserving her affection for her biological mother, and I did too initially. The development of the relationship between Allie and Sam is heartwarming, though at times Allie was so mean to Sam, I felt sorry for him. The looming war (World War II) adds just enough pressure to their relationship and other aspects of the story. Wonderful read. Rachel Coker is definitely an author I'll be keeping an eye on!
Author: Rachel Coker Published by: Zondervan Age Recommend: 14+ Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Raven Rating: 5 Blog Review For: GMTA "Interrupted: Life Beyond Words" by Rachel Coker was such a wonderful read to bewritten by a sixteen year old. The reading is very easy to understand and this read is for the younger person as well as the adult.. I believe you will really appreciate this read. There is a definite connection with God in this story that really helps to healing process of Alcyone (Allie) Everly. In this story there was a mixture of romance and history that happens around World War II during the 1940's. The authors connection with the characters in this story were very real...especially Allie and Sam Carroll. The story starts out with Allie taking care of you Mom.... then there is a death that will take her from a fourteen year old to eighteen... and life really changes for her causing her to lash out at others and withdrawing from anyone who offered love. Some of the characters that were wonderful in this read would be Charlie (her friend) and Irene (her sister... Beatrices' daughter) What happens and how Allie matures really comes into play. I will not give anything away .... you will have to read this wonderful read to find out what all happens to Allie. However, from this read you will find answers ...from Tennessee to Maine how does Allies' relationship with Sam present a change in her life? Why is poetry so important to Allie? And just who does Beatrice replied on to help this young troubled Allie? What was the secret that really was not a secret with Irene that Allie found out? You will find all this out and more from this good read.
This is the first Historical Christian book that I have had the chance to review. I wasn't sure what to expect when diving into its pages. I didn't know how this book was to be written, but in the end I enjoyed it.Allies' mom, I am sorry to say, was a little crazy sometimes. Although it was sad when she died, part of me wanted to shed some tears for her but the other part was asking "why?" With Allie, I could understand some of the stuff that she was going through but other than that I found her a little rude. Every time that she was offered both love and support she would turn it down. I didn't see a point to that, I could understand with her background but it wasn't necessary. Sam was what made this book enjoyable. He always had a positive attitude and he just had that positive feeling around him that made him enjoyable. There were some rough spots in this book that didn't allow the sentences to fully flow. However, overall this book was one that I enjoyed for it being a different genre. I give this book 4 souls!
Rachel Coker' s Interrupted: A life beyond words was a fantastic read. I'll admit, it really isn't the type of book I normally read, being a Christian (Jew here!) and realistic novel, but I'm glad I did.Allie, or Alcyone, is an uptight 14 year old girl in the 1940's who really only loves her mother. When her mother is diagnosed with brain cancer and dies, Allie is sent to, ugh, Maine with her new adopted mother Beatrice.As a Mainer myself, the fact that it was set here did peak my interest. I was worried it would get dull, but that never happened. Coker told the story with such rich language and solid characters.Most of all, this book is about growing up. There is so much lovely character growth in Allie and she seems so real. This book has tear jerking parts and funny parts and I was truly impressed by Cokers debut novel.Downside is that I did find the main male, Sam, a bit too nice, which I guess is ok since Allie herself admits it. Also, *SPOILER* in the end when Allie finally converts to Christianity, I just felt like it all happened really fast. One day she's against it, the next she was pray away her sins. There was some build up but I felt that it was rushed at the end. All in all, I have to give the book a 4 and would recommend it to anyone who likes a story of growing up and needs a light read.This book was given to my by the publishers via NetGalley, thus this is my honest review of the work.
This book was amazing
Allie, our main character, isn’t very pleasant. After losing her mother, she becomes a bitter, sometimes even cruel person. Even when Sam, and old childhood friend movies in, and slowly, Allie lets her guard down. She no longer hates christianity, and with World War II raging around them, the world has begun to change, and so has Allie. While the book isn’t very upbeat, it does have a happy ending and was overall enjoyable. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
An amazing book. The author is by the way a fourteen year old homeschooling girl. She also has a blog. :)
Interrupted is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families
What can I say? The story line was interesting enough to keep me engaged. It wasn’t a book I spent hours reading at night, but it also didn’t take me a month like other books. More the middle of the road type of read which kept me just interested enough to keep going. I have to say, I wasn’t overly fond of the main character. She was quite unlovable, even before her mother died. Though it was noted as a character trait, I had a difficult time understand why she steadily pushed people way… and often she had a mean streak about it. She was also quite immature at times, particularly toward the beginning of the book. The story spanned her life from about 14 to 20. However, she seemed to behave more like a 5-6 year old at times during the first part of the story. It was odd and made it difficult to connect with her. As for the story itself, I’m not really sure how to classify this one. Was it a Christian novel? It did have a Christian undertone, particularly toward the end. However, her Christian disbelief seemed to be resolved rather quickly. It really lacked the journey which I normally enjoy with Christian books. Christianity was more of a light switch for her. One moment she didn’t believe, the next she did. All of a sudden she was a better person for it. When I think of someone changing, I imagine it comes in increments. For her, it seemed she took on a completely different personality. Was it a romance? The relationship she had with her beau was fun, but so little time was spent on it that the romance lacked depth. I truly would have loved to explore more of the romance. The relationship seems to have so much potential… like they were two halves of the same whole at times. Yet the time we spent with her beau was too insignificant to really call this a true romance. Overall, this book had a lot of potential and was intriguing. However, I think this book could have offered a bit more. Did I enjoy the read? Yes. I certainly don’t think my time was wasted. But as I mentioned, it was lacking the oomph which really makes a book great. This work was provided to me by the publisher for a review.
Interrupted was one of the best books I have read recently. It was such a sweet, heart-warming story with well developed characters. The writing truly made me feel the emotions the characters felt; my heart longed for Allie and Sam. Rachel Coker's writing is also very descriptive and mature, considering she is a teenage author. I am so happy I read Interrupted. Reading it gave me a new perspective on life and I think it is a great book for any young adult. I would recommend Interrupted to anyone who loves historical fiction with a touch of romance.
I’m personally kind of over historical fiction so I wasn’t all that excited about reading this, but it was worth it. It turned out to be my favorite kind of historical fiction, the kind that’s about the characters, not the time period they live in. It was very natural. I also appreciated the take on foster care/adoption from that era. I thought Allie was a great character, but I kept reading for Sam. I felt for Allie, being uprooted from her life and all of that, but Sam is pretty swoon-worthy, not gonna lie. Allie’s struggle to stay loyal to her mother while adjusting to her new life and her own changing perceptions was the strongest part of this sweet story.
Interrupted: Life Beyond Words by Rachel Coker is an interesting historical novel. The heroine, Allie, is not exactly what you’d call likeable. She can be downright mean…even to those who are kind to her. Yet she’s been through quite a bit and for some reason, I still wanted her to be happy. I don’t know why Sam liked her so much, though :). I felt that having Allie and her mom hate Christians was a bold, unique way to start out a Christian YA novel. Now, let me examine what I see as the downsides. The book could have been edited better since there were a few grammatical errors/typos that caught my attention. The thing that bothers me most, though, is the repeated use of “g-o-s-h”. I’m sure that Rachel didn’t mean to offend anyone but I don’t like it when authors use God’s name in vain (even if it’s the “mellow” version). Also, it’s concerning to me that Sam (apparently a Christian) was asking someone who was obviously not a Christian to marry him. Back to what’s positive: As I was observing this new author’s writing style, something that struck me is that Rachel does a wonderful job of writing description. An example of this is “…the rolling grass engulfing me in large green pools”. Great, creative imagery! Overall, this is a nice novel that held my attention well. ~I received this book for free from Zondervan, through Team Novel Teen, in exchange for my honest review.
"I paused and tapped my pen to my mouth. What's a descriptive word for love? I racked my brain. Adoration...affection...fondness...devotion... I smiled and began scribbling in my notebook again. Devotion." After thirteen-year-old Alcyone (Allie) Everly's mother passes away, she is forced to move from her home in Tennessee to the shores of Maine. Her adoptive mother, Miss Beatrice, is nice enough, but Allie is convinced that no one can replace her "real" mother. Bitterness and resentment begin to grow in Allie because of the tragedies that she's experienced. She puts a wall between her and anyone who wishes to get close, and she's convinced that true love doesn't exist. Several years later, the past suddenly collides with the present when Sam Carroll, an old childhood friend, comes to town. Sam's arrival and the war overseas that's beginning to hit too close to home cause changes in Allie's life that force her to deal with the feelings she's held inside for so many years and to discover the truth about love and family. Sweet...lovely...touching. Rachel Coker's debut novel is truly all of the above. Allie is a well-developed character with a poetic point of view that I loved. I could also relate with her trying to find the perfect word to describe an object or feeling ("dreamy...alluring...enthralling..."). The whole novel itself was sort of "dreamy." I felt like I was watching an old film from the forties. Only a few times was I jolted out of the past when some of the characters spoke a word or slang that sounded too modern. I will say, that as much as I liked Allie, I wanted to shake her sometimes to snap her out of her mulish tendencies, though I did forgive her later. And Sam...I loved Sam! He was so endearing and sweet. And finally, can I just mention how gorgeous the cover is? When I received the book, I just stared at it for a little while. It's so pretty and fits the mood of the story perfectly. I have to also agree with the Publisher's Weekly quote on the front: "Coker is one to watch." * I would like to thank the author and publisher for sending me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I thought that this books was absolutely phenomenal, it actually made me cry, and it takes a lot for a book to make me cry. The author, Rachel Coker, is the same age as me and I find that as she gets older, she's only going to become a better author. I can't wait to see what other books she comes out with since I certainly enjoyed this one. I defnitely recommend that you read it.
A compelling and poignant read. My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: First off, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this. I went into this novel not really knowing what to expect. I liked the cover and thought the synopsis sounded intriguing, but I hadn't heard much about it. I was pleasantly surprised and ended up really liking this one. I enjoyed the characters Allie and Sam very much. Watching their interactions from their late childhood into their budding adult years. This novel was very moving and beautifully written. I enjoyed seeing Allie progress and overcome the sorrows of her past. Coker wrote this novel in a beautiful manner that I absolutely adored. This was another young adult christian fiction book. I haven't read very many of these and have fallen in love with all the ones I have read thus far. I've always enjoyed adult christian fiction, and I'm quickly beginning to love young adult fiction as well. The novel may have moved slow in some parts, but I barely even noticed that. I was too caught up in the story to care. This is one that I definitely recommend. In Summary: A compelling and poignant historical christian young adult novel set in the middle of Word War II. Definitely one that I recommend reading.
This is the first Historical Christian book that I have had the chance to review. I wasn't sure what to expect when diving into its pages. I didn't know how this book was to be written, but in the end I enjoyed it. Allies' mom, I am sorry to say, was a little crazy sometimes. Although it was sad when she died, part of me wanted to shed some tears for her but the other part was asking "why?" With Allie, I could understand some of the stuff that she was going through but other than that I found her a little rude. Every time that she was offered both love and support she would turn it down. I didn't see a point to that, I could understand with her background but it wasn't necessary. Sam was what made this book enjoyable. He always had a positive attitude and he just had that positive feeling around him that made him enjoyable. There were some rough spots in this book that didn't allow the sentences to fully flow. However, overall this book was one that I enjoyed for it being a different genre. I give this book 4 souls!
I went into Interrupted by Rachel Coker with NO expectations whatsoever, I didn't even know it was historical fiction until I started it when I got "The Notebook" vibe and it was addicting! I loved how carefree and realistic it was, even though the protagonist, Allie loses her mother and gets adopted and taken away from her hometown the day after her mother's funeral. We deal with tragic and sad situations, but at the same time we do not lose the reality of things. The book is set in more than a 3 year period, jumping from when Allie gets adopted at 14, to how old she is now, which is 17. Even though Allie gets the best adoptee mother (Beatrice) I personally can think of, she is still closed off and can't seem to open herself up to Beatrice, who seems to also be lost and unable to get closer to Allie and show her that she truly does love her, and at the same time Allie can't understand WHY Beatrice WOULD love her. Allie did frustrate me in this aspect; I mean, you've been adopted by around 4 years and you've only been treated no less than a real daughter, so why would you still hold on to all these insecurities and mistrust? Don't humans, naturally need someone to depend on? no matter how 'independent' they say they are. Allie does grow, with the help of Sam, her childhood friend, or more like, the guy who followed her as a lost puppy for years. I adored Sam, he wasn't pushy, he gave Allie her own time and slowed down to her pace and basically tried everything he could to make her happy, even if it meant that he won't end up with her. Then enters the military enlistment. I liked, and disliked the addition of this idea, the like comes fro the phrase "Distance only makes the heart grow fonder" and disliked it for the fact that it sort of sprung up on me, I didn't have much time to adapt to the idea of Sam leaving, and I felt that Allie resolved her feelings a bit too fast because of it. However, even though the ending and resolution of the book felt a bit rushed, it was sweet, heartwarming, and just an overall feel good ending. I would recommend this book to any lover of realistic fiction, but beware, I couldn't put this book down! I am definitely excited for any new books by Rachel Coker and hoping for another brilliant realistic contemporary like Interrupted
I'm very proud to say that I just finished my first ARC! Rachel Coker' s Interrupted: A life beyond words was a fantastic read. I'll admit, it really isn't the type of book I normally read, being a Christian (Jew here!) and realistic novel, but I'm glad I did. Allie, or Alcyone, is an uptight 14 year old girl in the 1940's who really only loves her mother. When her mother is diagnosed with brain cancer and dies, Allie is sent to, ugh, Maine with her new adopted mother Beatrice. As a Mainer myself, the fact that it was set here did peak my interest. I was worried it would get dull, but that never happened. Coker told the story with such rich language and solid characters. Most of all, this book is about growing up. There is so much lovely character growth in Allie and she seems so real. This book has tear jerking parts and funny parts and I was truly impressed by Cokers debut novel. Downside is that I did find the main male, Sam, a bit too nice, which I guess is ok since Allie herself admits it. Also, *SPOILER* in the end when Allie finally converts to Christianity, I just felt like it all happened really fast. One day she's against it, the next she was pray away her sins. There was some build up but I felt that it was rushed at the end. All in all, I have to give the book a 4 and would recommend it to anyone who likes a coming of age story and needs a light read.
This is such a beautiful book, and the story is unbealivablely wrote by sixteen year old who is still in school. When Allie Everly lost her mother to cancer she was sent to to Maine to live with an adoptive mother whom she had never meet she was very upset. She begin to think that if her friend Sam had not come she may have gotten to her mother in time to save her, so she blames herself for this lost. She had just lost her mother and now she was having to move away from her home and friends, so she became very bitter. She was sent to live with Miss Beatrice Lowell a prim woman with a great faith in God, whom Allie had not done in her life. Her life now was in turmoil until Sam comes back into her life. When Sam arrived for the summer she was so confused and unhappy but with World War ll on the horizon Allie will be forced to decide how she wanted her life to be. This beautiful book was sent to me by Zondervan Publishing and the review is my own.