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Donuts in an Empty Field: (For the Love of Donuts Book 1) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 3, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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"Honestly, everyone needs a Nichole in their lives. Someone to push you and help you be a better person." - Katharine "It's about life, heroes, world records and puppies. It's about donuts but mostly it's about friendship. The author has that rare talent where you could start on any random page and get completely drawn into the story." - Bill
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I’ve never experienced a traumatic experience, but the flashback “memories” that torment Vanessa seem to me to be accurate depictions of PTSD. Vanessa’s dad rescued a little boy from a burning restaurant, and died of smoke inhalation. Certain situations trigger Vanessa’s attacks, and even though she’s in therapy, she’s not making headway through her grief.
Her best friend, Nichole, tries to help her by encouraging Vanessa to try new things. This strategy partially backfires as Vanessa engages in risky behavior. To make things worse, Ben, the boy she blames for her father’s death, tries to intrude into their social circle. Bearing disfiguring scars from his burns, Ben should elicit sympathy, but instead, he’s shunned.
Barnard successfully portrays the secret lives of teenagers. She deals with uncomfortable topics, such as the shame young people feel about things out of their control, like Nichole’s mother’s hoarding. One aspect that bothers me is that Vanessa’s heart never softens toward Ben until it’s too late. Yet, in real life, everything doesn’t resolve neatly.
Donuts in an Empty Field was recently released as Book 1 of a series. I am looking forward to finding out what happens to Vanessa in the future.
I can only imagine that all teenagers will identify with the realistic characters Rachel Barnard has crafted and be thoroughly engaged in the story. There are plenty of moments to cheer and a few that might make you cry (if you're not a 43 year old man who just doesn't do that sort of thing).
If I read this book when I was a teenager, I'd probably have understood girls better and instead of obsessing over their big mystery, maybe my relationships would have been healthier and I would have had time to actually focus on school.
As the father of a 13 year old daughter, at least it might help me understand her.
I've been reading quite a lot lately and have been disappointed more often than not. Reading Donuts in an Empty Field makes up for that. Whatever you do, if you buy this book, read until the end, or you'll miss out on one of the best finishes I can remember. That's probably the biggest reason I love this book. Poor or Lazy endings are one of my biggest pet peeves. This novel exceeded my expectations by a country mile.
I was blown away by the reality of the characters, even the off-beat, quirky ones. All of them, major, minor and background. Not even to mention the boys, who are a whole lot more like those I remember knowing at that age than just about any others that I've read.
I stepped into another world, and became part of it. Considering I've never been a teenage girl that's quite something. The story is as painful as it is inspiring, and it is a whole lot of both. In 'Donuts' Rachel Barnard's writing shows an astonishing ability.
The pace is excellent, the development of Vanessa's insight into herself perfectly in step with the reader's growing understanding of both who she is and who she needs to become. Which is never going to be a neatly tied-off perfect little person.
Nichole is the perfect foil for the troubled Vanessa. She is the kind to play with a lighter, while Vanessa pulls the covers over her head.
In the end this amazing book lights a candle for all those in the valley, who are wondering if they will ever see the sun rise.