Sunday, January 10, 2016


Stronger Than You Know

Joy has no idea what life is like in a normal family or what it is to be a normal teen.  Growing up in a rundown trailer park with a mother more interested in where her next drink and her next man are coming from, meant life for Joy was like hell on earth.  Abused by both her mother and the men that walked in and out of their lives, she is finally rescued by Children's Services.  Now she is living with her aunt and uncle across the country from the horror of her former life.

Learning to trust others proves to be a daunting task.  Aunt Nicole breaks through Joy's protective shell first.  It is obvious that she truly cares about Joy, but despite her desire to fit into her new family, Joy hesitates to open up to Uncle Rob and her cousins Tara and Trent.  Past experience has convinced Joy that men are dangerous and will cause her pain.  Fortunately, this new family is willing to give Joy the time she needs to adjust and understand that they are there to help her and not hurt her.

Gradually, through Joy's therapy sessions everyone begins to understand each other.  Attending school for the first time also allows Joy to meet a protective guy named Justin.  He helps her navigate the minefield of emotions as she faces the normal teenage world.  As bits of her tragic past begin to surface, she also finds sincere understanding from her uncle and cousins that allow her to open up and accept the love they desperately want to share.

Author Jolene Perry deftly describes the rollercoaster of emotions involved as Joy learns to recognize the natural strength she does indeed possess.  Joy will be seen by readers as a true survivor, but it is clear the road to a happier life is not always easy.

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