Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Saturday, May 7, 2011

Plot Summary:
Ashley Asher grew up feeling empty, alone, unloved, and worthless. In fact, she even wished to die because the agony her stepfather put her through. What readers learn is that Ashely has been molested for years and her own mother didn't do anything to stop it. However, when Ashley speaks up, Child Protective Services is notified and she in her biological father's custody. Although Ashely doesn't know her father, she slowly re-builds her life by seeking help from a therapist, making friends, and connecting with her new family. Furthermore, she finally learns to move by expressing her frustration and  recognizing that her mother will never change and it is okay to let go. This novel will bring a few tears, but it also instills hope that even in the worst of times, people will heal and continue to live their lives. 

Critical Evaluation:
Hope in Patience is an incredibly moving story about survival. Ashley Asher's innocence was not only taken by a bad man, her own mother refused to stop the abuse. In fact, what is even more appalling, is that her mother is convinced that Ashely is trying to steal her husband. However, all off this changes when she is taken away from her mother and is placed with her biological father and his family. What is absolutely wonderful about this book is how Ashely came from a horrible family into the care of a loving family. Readers will learn about family dynamics and, more importantly, how sexual abuse is not acceptable and its devastating effects on the victim (i.e.,depression, self-mutilation, anxiety, and PTSD). Another awesome aspect of this story is the support system Ashley has: her father, stepmother, therapist, and friends, who refuse to give up on her, which not only helps her to deal with her past, but be able to move on. As I mentioned before, this story is about survival and, in the end, hope is the one that prevails where a broken girl is able to pick up the pieces by letting go. 

Information about the Author:
Beth Fehlbaum was born in Dallas, Texas and has one sibling. She met her husband in high school and they have three daughters. When her youngest daughter was born, Fehlbaum went to University of Texas at Arlington where she received her B.A. in English with a minor in secondary education. She then went on to pursue an M.Ed at Texas A&M--Commerce in Elementary School Education. According to Fehlbaum: "Bev Asher and I share a passion for teaching, social justice, and insisting upon authenticity in the classroom" (para. 8). Not only does she write novels for teens, she continues to teach, which she loves dearly. Hope in Patience is based on Fehlbaun's own experiences as an abused child. This is what she had to say about writing this novel:
I was inspired to write this story by my own recovery from childhood sexual abuse. In the process of working through my own grief, disbelief, and anger, I was writing poems and short stories, and sharing them with my (long-suffering) therapist. One day, he suggested that I try writing a novel. It took me about four months of starting and stopping, always ending up in the same place: stuck inside myself-- until one day I became so sick of the scenery that I decided to try to imagine what it would have been like if I had been able to get out of the abusive situation I was in at age 15-- instead of remaining in it much longer. What if a young girl in that situation had a father who had allowed his own shame at being a lousy dad to keep him away for her entire life, as Ashley's father, David does? AND- what if he was able to come through for her in a way he never thought he could, when she needed him the most?

In the process of knocking down the walls I had built around myself,  I found Ashley Nicole Asher, age 15, and Patience, Texas, a tiny East Texas town populated with people who can be found anywhere, dealing with the same problems that all people must face, whether they want to admit it or not.
Hope in Patience is the second book in the Patience series.

Teen Contemporary Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Hope in Patience:
Awards & Recognition:
  •  2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Reader

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Thanks so much, Deb! I look forward to "meeting" you Tuesday night!
    Beth Fehlbaum, author
    Hope in Patience

  2. Hello, Beth!

    I just wanted to let you know that your book is now in the teen collection at the Alhambra Civic Center Library. I cannot wait to recommend this title to our teens. Thanks for writing such a wonderful story.


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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