Saturday 30 November 2013

Book Review - Now That I'm Stronger

Now That I'm Stronger
Author: Valina R. Rudolph
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult, Adult
Release Date: 13th December 2013
Publishers: Outskirts Press
No. Pages: 253
Source: Review Copy - Rudolph's Manager
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
'I did it.'

These three words, uttered by Brianna's father, changed her life forever. Confident in her father's innocence, Brianna had been convinced that the jury had made a mistake. Instead, with her father's admission of guilt, everything she believed to be true is suddenly called in to question. Heartbroken and confused, Brianna sets out to find out the truth about her past. But what she discovers is more than she could have ever imagined. From the aunt who helped raise her to the new love in her life, it seems as though everyone in her life has a secret agenda. Shattered a little more by each revelation, Brianna finds herself alone with no one to trust.

Not enough people know that this book is being launched and released next month, and I think that's a very big shame, as this book was a wonderful read, however, rating the book was a very difficult decision for me. Whenever I'm reading a book, I always take notes and decide during those note taking pit-stops what rating the book deserves in that moment, and I usually make that choice because of the writing, the plot and my enjoyment level. The reason this book was so difficult to rate is because my enjoyment level was sky high, yet the writing itself wasn't as strong as it could have been, and so I spent a good amount of time too-ing and fro-ing over this book. Is it good enough for 4 stars? But did I enjoy it more than other 3.5 star books? Did the writing let it down too much? Brie, our leading lady, suffered much the same problem as me, too many questions and not enough clear as day answers.

Now That I'm Stronger felt to me, more of a diary type book. I wouldn't dare say it had a plot, because it didn't feel like fiction, in many ways, it felt like Brie was talking me through her struggles, her life, her choices and decisions, and while I usually can't take to first person perspectives, I did, with time, take to this one. I felt that Brie had some of the biggest character development I'd seen in a long time, as with almost every chapter, a new revelation appeared, and she took on that revelation and learnt how to deal with the situation in hand. She was a quiet character, with a lot going on inside her head; a Kingpin Father, an Auntie who helped run a drug operation, a dead Mother, and no real close family aspect in her life, and if that wasn't enough to deal with to start with, the entire world came collapsing on her shoulders throughout. I really felt for Brie throughout, and while I didn't enjoy the reading about the relationship aspect, it was a very good aspect involved, but these features weren't what made the book good for me.

I very rarely see a book with any black characters in, let alone a leading one, and it made me not happy, but so elated to finally see it happen. I've been sitting, dreaming, waiting for a book that really covered strong aspects, and this one really did. Most of the characters in this book were black, and most of them struggled with a lot of realistic problems, the biggest ones being drugs and teenage pregnancy, and boy were they covered well. Of course, the biggest theme is the drugs, as from the description, I knew I was in for some emotionally heavy things, but I never expected what I got. Drugs and teenage pregnancy are higher in our society today than ever before, and yes, I watch my fair share of Law and Order, or CSI, but they don't prepare you for some of results drugs really have on people. I can only imagine what Valina R. Rudolph saw in the court rooms as an Attorney, but I only hope I shall never see them myself. These features made this book an emotionally charged one, and I will confess, I found myself in a ball of tears by the end of it. That's right, this book broke me, into pieces, into a crumbling mess on my bed, and any book that can break me deserves a recommendation.

This is a wonderful book. It's about so much more than a girl who's Daddy is in jail. It is about strength. It is about finding out who you really are. It is about learning to love, for real. Learning to forgive because of love. Learning to move on with the truth known. Yes, the book could have been written better. Yes, it's not as strong in writing as it is in messages. And no, it's not something I would have usually chosen to read, but I swear, this is an amazing book. It's so good, I would seriously recommend it to anyone who loves a good switch up, contemporary read.

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