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The Homecoming Paperback – November 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—After the accident that left his brother Ryan brain damaged, John's anger got the best of him and he was forced to leave his home. Seven years later, John is in trouble again and returns to the family who threw him out. It's a rough transition for him: he's a high school senior in a new school, he resumes playing lacrosse and starts getting back into shape, he's thinking seriously about his future and career goals, and his mom is still devoting most of her energy to Ryan's care (at the expense of her own health and well-being). The protagonist drowns his troubles in Jack Daniel's and a bit of pot, which might cause some trouble with his parole. He is on the brink of collapse, as are the rest of his family, and there's no clear way to help them without giving up everything he's worked for. The overall message of relying on family and friends for support is clear, and John's pain and confusion are palpable. He's 17 and handling things as well as an adolescent can. He sees a therapist and vents some of his rage, and breakthroughs come quickly. This is a fairly typical story of overcoming familial dramas and healing from tragedy, but the male point of view distinguishes it in a field crowded with girls' perspectives. VERDICT A solid addition to YA collections.—Brandy Danner, Coakley Middle School, Norwood, MA
"A stirring close-up of a family haunted by emotional trauma" - Kirkus
"The overall message of relying on family and friends for support is clear, and John's pain and confusion are palpable... the male point of view distinguishes it in a field crowded with girls' perspectives. VERDICT A solid addition to YA collections.
" - School Library Journal
"This engaging story will appeal to all readers and will help troubled teens realize that there can be help out there for what's going on in their lives." - School Library Connection
"Ramey has penned a rare raw, emotion-packed romance from a male perspective, with themes of empowerment and self-actualization..." - Booklist
Top customer reviews
Haven’t we all been there?
The author created relatable characters, and I loved every one of them! She built such a strong, dysfunctional dynamic amongst them all that I couldn’t help but feel the push and pull of each of their emotions—from John, to Emily, to his mom, and even to Ryan—dragging me in ten different directions and giving me all sorts of feels! With the trials that each one has to handle, I felt as the reader that it would be impossible to have a completely happy ending. But John, who was his own worst enemy, ends up being his own hero in this story of forgiveness, hope, and truly finding yourself. Five tearful, heart-stirring stars!
It's difficult for me to assign star ratings to Ramey's works. On the one hand, I care enough about the characters and the stories they tell that I finish her books, and usually rather quickly at that. I'm interested enough in the moving parts to stick around. However, especially with this book, I had a hard time sinking into the story and truly believing in John. His personality was scattered and difficult to understand, and his thoughts about the female characters alarmed me quite a bit (they were either perfect and angelic, like his younger sister or Emily, or they were "weak" and manipulative--his mother, girls at school who possess a one-sided interest in him). There were also several subplots that I felt were underdeveloped and unresolved. Like The Sister Pact, I did find Ramey's approach to psychology interesting--namely, that John personifies his anger management issues as a dragon that lives within him. However, I found myself wishing for a more objective, concrete view of the situations at hand, and an ending that didn't tie everything together quite as neatly. While I don't regret reading this book, it probably will be my last Ramey--at least for a while.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I had a hard time identifying to John and his issues. I thought I would never get to like him because he was so messed up, he pushed all the people away from him, always tethered to the bad memories that's why he was having a hard time moving on, moving forward and coping up. I'd blamed it to the lack of parental guidance. But there was also those other people around him who had shown support and understanding in his situation, so I think John was lucky.
Overall, the book was good, it was heartfelt and dedicated, although the impact on me wasn't full-force. The writing was great too, Stacie Ramey is a great storyteller. A good quick read and quite emotional journey.