Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.
When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.
Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.
I think we’ve all read plenty of books about characters that are down on their luck and struggling to get back on their feet, but in Allie and Bea both title characters are truly fighting for survival, there is nothing cutesy or whimsical about their situations, things are drastic, life threatening even. But don’t be mistaken, as much as this book deals with some heavy themes, at it’s core it’s uplifting and a story of hope and how small acts of kindness can have life altering impacts.
It begins from Bea’s point of view, she’s a seventy something widower barely scraping by on her social security checks. When she gets scammed by someone claiming to be from the IRS, she’s virtually penniless and all hope seems to be lost. It then switches to Allie’s POV, a fifteen year old girl who’s parents are arrested leaving her in the care of the state and stuck in a group home with some unsavory characters. When the two have a chance encounter, their storylines merge and now these unlikely allies find themselves on an adventure that takes them places neither could have ever imagined.
I wondered what a seventy year old woman and a teenage girl could possibly have in common, and the surface answer is not a whole lot. Though they are as different as two people can possibly be, they wind up having more in common than meets the eye and they also have lessons to teach each other. Ryan Hyde has a real knack for developing outstanding characters that steal a piece of your heart, they really get under your skin in a good way. Watching their relationship grow and blossom was just amazing and made me smile.
Ryan Hyde tackles some timely issues in this book, the one that touched me the most was homelessness, she sure made me think about the issue in a different manner than I have in the past. Seeing how fast someone can find themselves on the street or sleeping in their car was scary and humbling. While tough issues are definitely at the forefront there are still many moments of humor, heart and warmth making this a truly feel good read. This was thought provoking and would also be a great choice for a book club, but it’s an easy enough read that you could read it poolside as well.
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Thank to Little Bird Publicity for my review copy.