Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Reclaiming the Sand by A Meredith Walters

Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.

Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.

Particularly Freaky Flynn.

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.

And moved on.

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other.

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.

4 Fantastic Stars

Review by Allison East

This book for me was a tough read. It was so beautifully written though that I almost forgot about the situation that was going on. A. Meredith Walters wrote one of my favorite books that tackled the very real situation, to me, of someone who had bi-polar disorder. This book was the same and yet totally different. It still tackled a very real issue, but it was a different one altogether- Asperger’s.

This book took a long time for me to finish. In part because it was a tough issue, and I was very emotional. If you have ever known someone with any form of autism, you know that they touch you in some way. That is how I felt when I read this. I got to experience what they were thinking, from their perspective. I am not sure how she captured that so clearly, obviously she has done her research and you could totally tell. When I read the synopsis, I knew that this was going to be one difficult read, but I placed my heart in her hands as she unfolded a story that was truly moving.  She earned my trust with the Find you in the Dark series; those books really stayed with me long after I read them-because it hit close to home. But more importantly, the way she approached the challenging subject was so respectful. I knew she wouldn’t let me down with this story either.

Ellie grew up in foster care. When she got to high school she ended up in juvie. I think a lot of it was having to do with the people she associated herself with and how she went about trying to impress them. Now, living in a dead end town with a past, being on probation, still dealing with those terrible friends, and a bad temper- she felt like she had nowhere to go.

 And then, out of nowhere Freaky Flynn Hendrick comes back into town. A guy she hadn’t seen in years, a man responsible for why she went to juvie- and also the same man she had blamed herself for ruining his life, his home. Flynn is a different than everyone. He has Asperger's and there are many things that made him stand out, and he was looked at as a little bit differently. He says what he is thinking, without even a second thought as to how it will be perceived. He hates being touched, and doesn’t understand simple emotions or how to address them. Of course in school he was bullied, for being just different enough to warrant it. But for some reason, in the past that bully had more often than not been Ellie.

She and her friends bullied him so badly through high school;  called him names, touched him or poked him. And Ellie always felt a little bad for him, but not bad enough to be friends with him in public. They formed a friendship outside the walls of school. As soon as she was with her other friends though, Flynn was a second thought.

In the present day, Flynn kept showing up around town. And like a moth to a flame she was drawn to him once again. I wasn’t sure if it was out of blame or guilt, or that she really did like him at first. But somehow, despite everything that had happened between them before- their love story unfolded.

The chapters went back and forth between Ellie and Flynn's POV's. It was so surreal to experience Flynn’s chapters, being someone with a form of autism. It was definitely interesting to see how he felt during everything. At first, I really did hate Ellie, and I thought I would never get over that. She was selfish and punishing, but when I saw how she hated herself too, it made me kind of feel sorry for her. I was finally glad to see how she really did want to change her life around for the good.

In Flynn’s POV, the author did a remarkable job especially of showing us the world through Flynn's eyes. I totally loved him. He was brutally honest, but that is how Asperger’s works, no filter. Everything about him, made me love him- his feelings and the way he saw the world he lived in. Nothing changed in the book that made any of this go away, he was weak where Ellie was strong, and sometimes vice versa.

I would have liked to have had a little more details at the end. I felt a little unresolved with the ending, as if it was a little rushed, but I loved the characters so much, I wanted a little more about their lives at the end.

When their romance passed a friendship level, it was written so well and so poignantly, I loved it. Walters showed me that anyone can be hero- anyone. And if you or someone you know has been touched by Asperger’s or autism, they need to read this book pronto. As many tears as I cried over it- I know someone with a personal tie to this, will enjoy it that much more.



No comments:

Post a Comment

How to Configure Numbered Page Navigation After installing, you might want to change these default settings: