About the Book
Author: Kathy Cassel
Release date: March, 2022
Set against the backdrop of the sport of freerunning, Kia must decide whether she will continue running or face her past abuser in order to save another child.
Night is Kia’s favorite time, when she freeruns to outdistance the memories of abuse she suffered as a young child. But when former reality television star Terrence Jones arrives at their school as the new head track coach, things begin to change in unpredictable ways. Kia tries out for the team to fit in, but just as she’s gaining a new sense of normal, her abuser steps back into her life. Not only that, but being on the track team causes even more turmoil. Why does the assistant coach, Cassandra Clark, dislike Terrence Jones so much, and even more troubling, why does Coach Clark dislike her so much? As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, Kia realizes she has to choose between running from her past or saving a child from the same sort of abuse she suffered. But will she have the courage to do so?
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Freerunner packs intensity with moments of finding courage, finding friends, finding answers, and more for young adults. While this story explores an adult behaving inappropriately with a child, I felt the author wrote it in a way that deals with the emotions and consequences rather than shoving the actual act into your face. Kia’s grandfather took inappropriate liberties with Kia when she was younger. Now she deals with his actions every day in her mind and emotions.
As a mother who homeschooled our four children, I believe books like this need to be written and then to be read. These books potentially convey powerful messages to their readers.
I appreciate how this story developed and concluded. The friendship between Thorn and Kia touched me. I also appreciated how Thorn’s grandparents assisted Kia in the story. Not knowing freerunning, I think the author did an excellent job of explaining what this looks like.
The book illustrates how sometimes the most courageous thing a person does comes from standing up for someone else. It allows for healing to begin.
So if you want a story dealing with hard topics meaningfully, check out this book for yourself.
I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.
About the Author
Kathy Cassel is author of more a dozen fiction and non-fiction titles for preteens and teens, including 2021 Selah Award finalist Freerunner and the iParenting award winner Christian Girls Guide series. Kathy has lived on three different continents with her USAF husband, has eight children, five adopted from Haiti and the United States, and six grandchildren. To better relate to her characters, she enjoys learning their skills such as whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and riding a motorcycle, but draws the line at sky diving.
More from Kathy
For many years I wrote devotion books for preteens and early teens. I tried to make the devotions both fun and interesting. I wanted preteens and early teens to see that the Bible is relevant to them today. But I realized that the readers I most wanted to reach weren’t likely to pick up the Bible or a daily devotion book. But they might read a story. These are the teens who are hurting inside. Those who have been abused, neglected, bullied, abandoned, or who face challenges. Those who may have lost hope and who need healing. Those who need to realize that God still has a plan for them no matter what has happened.
So I turned to writing faith-based, issue-based young adult books. It hasn’t been easy. There are a multitude of issue based books in the general market, but these can be graphic and offer little hope or healing, yet they are snatched off the shelves and are some of the most popular books. Mine are not graphic and mention God throughout the book. They are not likely to reach library shelves. So the challenge is to get them into the hands of the readers who most need them.
Freeerunner is about a 15-year-old girl who is sexually molested/abused (I never give details so readers can interpret what happened based on their own knowledge and experiences) by a family member when she is only six. She doesn’t get help. No one talks about it. So when the abuser walks back into her life now that she’s 15, she has a lot of unresolved feelings. For adults reading this book, the story may trigger negative feelings or bring up a painful past. But don’t let that turn you away from the book because it may be a powerful resource for those experiencing what Kia did. For teens, the book gives them a character they can relate to. The story lets them know they are not alone and don’t need to suffer in isolation. Like Kia they may find the courage to finally speak out and get help. And they may come to realize that God has an amazing plan for them no matter their past.
So for some the book may simply be an entertaining sports story, while for others it can be a springboard to talk about their own problems. I am hoping this book will become a resource for parents, counselors, pastors, youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and librarians to share with teen readers.
And above all, I hope the story is a source of hope and healing to those who need it.
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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.