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The Ball's in Her Court Paperback – October 1, 2009
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
Cedar Fort has found another promising new author in Heather Justesen. Her recently released novel, The Ball's in Her Court walks a fine line between Young Adult and Adult fiction. Though the main character is a twenty-six year-old career woman, the story still deals with elements of a coming-of-age plot. Denise lived with her abusive mother until the age of nine, then spent three years in the foster care system before being adopted. The abuse and her feeling that she has never quite fit in anywhere merge with a sense of not being good enough for anyone to keep. Between when she was nine and was taken from her mother until she was adopted, she spent three years in various foster homes. As an adult she knows that much of her acting out and getting into trouble during her teen years was a desperate attempt to test her adoptive parents and to perhaps get herself thrown out before they took the initiative and sent her away. Falling in love with her boss in a company with a "no employees dating each other" policy complicates her life, but it also sparks something inside her that sends her seeking answers to questions concerning her background like why did her father abandon her to her abusive mother, does she have an extended family, can she ever forgive her mother, and can she commit to her adoptive family enough to go to the temple with them? Playing basketball is Denise's outlet when she needs to escape pressure and she spends a lot of time at the gym playing pick-up games or just practicing. Her favorite one-on-one partner is her younger adopted sister's boyfriend who plays on the BYU team. The beginning of the falling in love portion of this book is a little unrealistic and occurs much too quickly. Denise and her boss more than bend the rules, as well, as they skirt awfully close to the line of what might or might not be called a date. Still this is an exceptionally well-written romance and social issues novel. Once the romance is launched, it proceeds nicely and the dilemma of the adopted child coming to terms with his/her past is handled well. Some readers may find the boundaries of coincidence stretched a little too far in order to have a satisfying conclusion. Having been a foster parent myself, I like stories that show foster parenting in a positive, yet realistic light and this story does just that. It is well edited and there are few copy errors. Its greatest appeal will be to both adults and older teens. I found this novel to be more than a romance, but a story with some real meat to it and well worth the enjoyable time spent reading it. --Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine
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Top customer reviews
My only complaint was there was a little too much foreshadowing too early on leaving no surprise or twists for me. I just realized there is a sequel. I'll definitely read it when I have the chance.
When I first read an excerpt of Heather's debut novel, just from the first paragraph, I knew I would love it and when I received my review copy, it surpassed my expectations. Denise DeWalt is a Computer Programmer who loves her job, her co-workers, friends and family, but is still missing something in her life. In her spare time, she works at finding the biological parents of adoptees, but is nagged by the ghosts of her past that trigger her to search for her mother, who had abandoned, neglected and abused her. Her roommate and best friend's cousin becomes her new boss and there seems to be some interest and since there's no fraternizing between employees, Denise decides to do something to change this.
Since Denise is bitter towards the foster care system, it's difficult to get through her fears of getting too close with any men, so when Rich Jensen won't give up fighting for her trust, she still pushes him away. With her prowess on the basketball court, she's able to keep up with the guys, even when she finds out something startling about her sister's fiance she plays 3 on one with at the gym.
When she has fears about locating her biological father and brothers and sister she didn't know existed, not knowing if she'd be rejected like her mother rejected her, she hides away from everyone who loves her. When she finds someone that is reacting the same way she has been reacting, it finally becomes a wake-up call for her. When she's finally able to face her mother again after fifteen years, she is feeled with hate and anger, but finally sees the futility in her feelings and comes to realize she doesn't hate her mother anymore, as it's her adoptive mother she loves more. She comes to realize she can move forward with her life once she leaves the bitterness and anger behind. Denise comes to realize the atoning that her Savior, Jesus Christ, did for her and for all mankind, to keep us from that sad, bitter life that some of us take on. Denise comes to realize just how very much she is loved and that she can really begin to heal and love others.
Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Noo
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Pub. Date: May 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the struggles and triumphs in Denise's life. It gave me a good feeling to see Denise take charge of her own life and confront the emotional heartache from her troubled childhood. I was excited as she met new family members, but felt relief to see that she still stayed close to the parents who had raised her.
Martha's Freedom Train
Heather is an excellent writer! She pulled me right into this story and all the heartache and angst Denise faced as she tried to discover the strength of her heart. This is a powerful story I recommend you read. You'll get a look into how someone who has been in the foster care system and been adopted might feel. There's so many different angles that Heather was able to touch on--an intriguing read!