I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Summary (from Goodreads): From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.
Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.
What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithfulis the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.
Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.
Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.
Looking for a book that gives you hope that there actually is goodness in everyone? Faithful by Alice Hoffman is a story that explores many themes, such as grief, love and family. This book is one that will appeal to many, however, there are some very difficult topics that are prevalent in this novel, so I will caution anyone who is triggered by scenes of rape and self-harm.
One thing that is really enjoyable in a novel is when the theme of family is explored. Alice Hoffman shows the reader so many different types of families throughout Faithful. What is really at the heart of Shelby’s ability to overcome her inner demons through the various families that she becomes a part of. It shows us that blood relatives aren’t always who makes up a family. Although, Shelby does get emotional support from her mother, she grows from her other relationships as well.
There is something for everyone in this story and I do believe that pegging it into the genre of adult fiction is limiting the audience for this book. Faithful is a book can be enjoyed by young adults as well and I would definitely categorize it as a YA crossover. The protagonist starts off as a teen and I believe that Shelby’s experiences can be very relatable to a YA audience.
Faithful is a book that I actually had a hard time getting into at first. The beginning scenes were quite hard to read and I had to set it down for a little while and return to it. The scenes of Shelby being raped and the harm that she inflicts upon herself are very graphic. However, as Shelby starts to make sense of who she is and becomes more of an adult, these scenes disappear. I do admit that it is very realistic that some teens have these experiences and they are important to explore, but if it is not something you are comfortable reading I will caution you.
Exploring the issues of self-affirmation and the importance of having faith are at the root of Hoffman’s Faithful. This is a book that is beautifully written and provides so many themes for the reader to enjoy. I look forward to reading more of Hoffman’s books!