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The Helping Hands: Book One In The Helping Hands Series Paperback – July 20, 2012
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Definitely different than Beyond the Western Sun, or The Sour Orange Derby, the world of the Helping Hands is dark, gritty, emotional, and yet all too realistic. Dealing with addiction, emotional ties, and of course the themes of abuse, this first book in the series welcomes readers to a world that doesn't shy away from the ugly realities of life. And though, while this could have been a turn-off, I in fact really liked the fact that the dark vibe of the story wasn't hidden, and that the hard themes weren't toned down or sweetened; but they weren't overplayed, either, a good balance.
The different viewpoints in the story, and the exploration of morals -- from the Helping Hands, an 'organization' that kidnaps children to save them from their abusive parents, to the Hell Hounds gang, the stern face that the members of the Helping Hands wear to keep their secret jobs secret -- also added to the tale, and created a dynamic to show what the respective characters have been through, and how their lives thus far have effected them.
The cast of characters was well written, as always, though as I said above, there are some dark themes (I would probably recommend this title for older teens and up). I had a little trouble distinguishing between them initially, but as the book progresses, you feel like you get to know everyone well, and it was interesting to read about their relationships with one another.
My only real con for this story is that sometimes it seemed to move a little slow, but that's probably me, since like I said, I don't normally like realistic fiction.
All in all, another great read by Mrs. Circelli. If you like realistic fiction with a dark side, then definitely check out the Helping Hands series! 3.5 stars.