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Finding Hope

by Colleen Nelson

Cerebral, straight-laced 15-year-old Hope Randall is eager to leave her small town of Lumsville and escape her apathetic parents and 18-year-old meth-addicted brother, Eric. Once the town’s star hockey player and bound for the NHL, Eric now lives on the streets and harbours a debilitating personal secret.

BfYPMarch_BookJacket_FindingHopeWhen Hope is accepted into Ravenhurst Academy as a boarding student, she welcomes her chance to start anew. With a cool roommate, new friends, and her brother out of the picture, things are finally looking up. But life at the all-girls school turns out to be challenging, and Hope inadvertently begins making frenemies with the cliquey Ravens. Feeling more alienated than ever, Hope soon finds a kindred spirt in online “boyfriend” Devon. It’s only after Devon stands her up on their first date, then coerces her to send him risqué photos of herself that she learns his true identity. When the Ravens turn on her, and Eric begins visiting her at her school and begging for money, Hope starts feeling trapped and unhinged, questioning not only her decision to attend Ravenhurst, but also her self-worth.

This fourth YA novel by Winnipeg author and teacher Colleen Nelson is an arresting read that adeptly tackles the dark, weighty subjects of bullying, drug addiction, sexual assault, homelessness, and loss. Told in simple yet striking prose, peppered throughout with Hope’s haunting poetry, Finding Hope offers an engaging brother-sister narrative, flawed yet relatable characters, and a convincing, well-paced plot that succeeds in laying bare a fractured family’s harrowing struggle with addiction, and one young woman’s achingly real odyssey of self-discovery and healing.