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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Reviewed by Jackie Timmons for Readers' Favorite Family Secrets by Donna Zadunajsky is a story full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Alexis Finley has already experienced quite a roller coaster before the book begins. Her husband committed suicide, leaving her and her teenage son, Colton, on their own. And, several months later, she was chosen by her employer, NASA, to join an astronaut crew into outer space. Going to space has been her lifelong dream and something she has devoted all of her time, passion, and thought to over the past 15 years. But, Alexis is soon diagnosed with breast cancer. Her first concern when hearing this is not for her life or her son, but for how this will affect her ability to go into space. At first she tries to hide her sickness from everyone. Meanwhile, Alexis attempts to talk to her son but they keep butting heads. Colton feels rejected by his mother - she's put work ahead of him practically his whole life and he blames her for his father's suicide. But something doesn't feel right about his father's death. Colton doesn't believe his father killed himself. He is on a mission to find his father's killer. That is, until his mom ends up in the hospital and her doctor friend fills Colton in on what is really going on. Can Colton and Alexis build a healthy relationship? What really happened to Colton's father? Will Alexis be able to beat her cancer? Family Secrets is filled with secrets, questions, story lines, and emotions. I didn't love the character of Alexis at first, but as she progressed throughout the story I liked her more and more. I really liked Colton and was hoping for everything to pull together for his sake. The character of Alexis' doctor friend, Sarah, was genuine, kind and selfless. Donna Zadunajsky's story had more twists and suspense than I expected so that was an excellent bonus. I did get tired of reading about how Alexis had ignored her family for her job. It seemed to be repeated constantly through everyone's story line. But the rest of the story was interesting enough to keep me engaged. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for women's fiction with some extra suspense. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Author
This is my third novel, but the first book of a series. It is different than I usually write, but still has some mystery and suspense, with a hint of contemporary women's fiction. I had an idea when I first started writing this novel, but half way through, I just knew it wouldn't work because then the book would have been at least 200,000 words long.
So, instead I have broken the book into a series of different stories using characters from the book before. If they are mentioned in the first book, then they'll have their own book in the series.
I know this is supposed to be a review, but as I am the writer of the book, I would think it is frowned upon, so I thought I'd just write to my readers and tell them a little about why I wrote the book and what is to come in my writing career.
The book is dedicated to two wonderful people in my life. The first person, a dear friend and like my second mom, had battled breast cancer, and has recently left our world battling Pancreatic cancer.
The second person is my best friend who I had asked personal things and not so personal. I wrote a story as if she could have picked her life what would she want her name to be, where she wanted to work, and do with her life.
The results are a 90,000 word book. A little true, but most fiction. So, sit back and enjoy this story of grief, battling breast cancer, forgiveness, and of course, love. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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---- Mitch Albom, an author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician
Donna M. Zadunajsky's, an American author, new book, Family Secrets delves deep into the puddles of secrets that shatters the lives of a family.
Alexis has had big dreams all her life, and she’s worked hard to make them happen! After college she married and had a beautiful baby boy, living her dream as “Mommy” until Colton was safely entrenched in grade school. She lands her dream job at NASA, and her supportive husband, Jay, takes the lead on raising their son. The perfect family, right?
Twelve years later with no warning and no reason, Jay commits suicide. Colton goes into denial and blames his mother; Alexis buries herself in her work.
Seven months later, Alexis’s biggest dream comes true. She’s going to be on the next space shuttle! Her victory is short-lived when she finds out she has breast cancer. As her health declines, Colton delves into the dangerous circumstances of his father’s death.
“Family Secrets” crept into Alexis’s life when she wasn’t paying attention. Will she and her son ever find out the truth? Or is it too late?
It's a nice little heart-touching story which centers around a NASA scientist, Alexis, who has recently been diagnosed with Cancer. She has a difficult relationship with her only teenage son, Colton, since he blames her for his father's suicide. But when the secrets started unrolling in front of Alexis, it seemed difficult for Alexis to keep on moving forward with hope.
The writing is good, and the pace is perfect for this family drama fiction. And the author have addressed all the sensitive family issues with enough compassion. I liked how the author molded her plot with emotion and depth. Moreover, mystery starts to spill when Colton believes that there is foul play in his father's death, so that shift from an emotional journey to a suspense-full ride was skillfully handled by the author.
The characters are all well developed and the author portrays their demeanor really smartly by reflecting the sense of loss of somebody close in their every act and move. Especially, it's very easy to contemplate with Alexis's character- the inner pain as well as her body pain, to the loss of her husband and the distant relationship with her son. The narration is pretty articulate to keep us going till the very end.
Flaws like some descriptions about what happens with a Cancer patient are wrong, moreover, it took time for me to accept the truth with Alexis's husband's death. Overall, it's an entertaining and engaging book.
Verdict: Recommended to those who enjoy a multi-layered family drama.
The main characters in the story are well developed and there is just no way to read this and not 'feel' something for them. I know I could relate and connected with them both; Alexis and her son Colton, right from the beginning of the book. It was sad that they were not as 'functional' as a mother and child should be especially since Colton's father (Alexis' husband) committed suicide some seven months before and Colton basically blames his mother for it. He don't even call her 'mom' or 'mother' but calls her by her name, Alexis. Alexis realizes she wasn't there for her son. She had been so busy with her work as an astronaut she basically missed him growing up and being a part of his life however now she wants to be the mother that he should of had all along and build their relationship. After all, they are all each other had (so they thought).
Now I know that sounded sort of boring but there are just so many twists and turns in this somewhat of a fast paced story that it is far from boring, far from what I expected, and it totally engulfed me. I had no idea where this was going and it was to the point that when someone answered the door, I really darn near fell off my chair. I never expected that! It is just so surprising and non-stopping throughout the story. Just when you think the worse is over, it isn't. When you think this is the person, it turns out it is not. It is just so delightfully full of surprises that I couldn't put the book down.
I didn't notice any format issues and truthfully, I only noticed one typo at the beginning where Alexis is talking to her doctor and said, "These past few days I've spent at home and with my son have [sic] good, and I want to continue spending time with him." If there were any others I was so into the story I didn't notice them so it would be safe to say that if they do exist, they didn't take away from the story.
I totally enjoyed this story and although it is an easy read, some may think it is a YA. I am not so sure due to the content matter of suicide, grief, breast cancer, death, drugs, lies, deceptions. Yeah, I know, it seems like I'm talking about everyday life for many people now-a-days YA are a bit different from when I was one so lets just say I recommend it for the those who would feel comfortable with those subjects.
*I received a free copy for my honest opinion.
Donna M. Zadunajsky presents one mystery after another inside her novel, Family Secrets. Each page carries a high volume of suspense that kept on building up as I followed the characters. The emotional journey was believable and enticing. The characters led me to feel sad, frustrated, ad hoping for the best as the story unfolded. One event can rip a family apart faster than I thought. Here, I got a real world glimpse into how what the characters didn't or did do that still made it tough for both of them to cope and forward together. Being a mother is tougher than it appears. The mother inside this novel ends up realizing just how much her work has kept her from witnessing and being there to support her child. Her son. I loved the ending...Family Secrets is a definite must read for all. The entire book is written in a way that lured me in deep. I can't wait to read more by this talented writer. Overall, I highly recommend this read to all.