Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum

Beth Fehlbaum is an inspiration- she writes AND teaches fifth grade in East Texas!  Talk about a busy woman…

Hope in Patience is the sequel to her gut-wrenching Courage in Patience (click to read my review). The Patience Books are the story of fifteen-year-old Ashley Nicole Asher, who is sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by her stepfather.  Ashley’s story in Hope in Patience follows Ashley as she  continues her rocky road to recovery.  Like many 15-year olds, she wonders what it would be like to have a boyfriend, to live a normal life, and run better during cross-country season.  She also faces the worst betrayal imaginable. Ashley’s story is about courage. About bravery. And about the power of hope, no matter how scared you think you are.

Ashley is an inspirational character.  She is strong, stronger than she even realizes.  I was thrilled when Beth contacted me to say that she had written another Patience book.  While Courage in Patience didn’t beg for a sequel, I think that young readers need to know what happened to Ashley after the events in the book.  A happy ending doesn’t just happen- it requires hard work.  Ashley doesn’t have it easy.  She scratches at her skin and tears her hair out at times because she can’t handle what is going on.  Moving forward feels impossible. But the reader is on a journey with Ashley and you want to pick her up every time she falls back.

Like its predecessor, Hope in Patience is a heart-wrenching read.  There were times I had to put the book down because the events were too difficult to continue reading.  And I really appreciate how Fehlbaum continues to protray a realistic picture of sexual abuse by following Ashley through therapy and her long road to recovery.  Her story continues to be tragic and horrific, and her road to recovery is bumpy and imperfect. There is no “normal” life for Ashley.  But there is a life for her.  And a family that loves her, even if it isn’t the traditional nuclear family.

Highly recommended, especially for fans of Beth Fehlbaum and gritty realistic fiction.  And for anyone who wants to SpeakLoudly for teens.