[REVIEW] Finding Keepers

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Series: N/A
Kristi Strong
young adult, contemporary, realistic fiction
July 30, 2014

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Finding Keepers
Starting a new life is never easy, but Alyssa Doe has turned it into an art form. Abandoned by her parents at age ten, six years in foster care has taught Alyssa how to get through life the hard way. 
Now sixteen and growing desperate for a stable life, Alyssa finds herself puzzled by her newest keeper, twenty-five year old Jessica Sona. A feisty woman who won't accept no for an answer, Jessica’s insistence on safety, family, and unconditional love begin to break down Alyssa’s walls and bring her hope, a dangerous emotion. 
Can such a thing as family and love exist for a girl whose birth name is Doe, or will Alyssa be forever left finding keepers?

*             *             *

I will not merely survive, not anymore. Now I will fly and make the future wonderful, whatever I want it to be.

*             *             *

Finding Keepers is another realistic fiction that I picked up just because I want to read something emotional and maybe inspirational. But you see Finding Keepers is more like that story that lets you into the world of foster children (there’s even a note from the author at the end about this) and maybe know how they truly feel – their pain, their traumas, and their worries.

Finding Keepers started quite slow for me. It didn’t immediately capture me. I don’t think it’s about Alyssa’s situation but more of how her situation was presented. But as the story progress and we see more of Alyssa’s experiences and how these experiences affect the way she sees things. It is later on in the story that I truly embraced how realistic the story is that I started feeling for Alyssa.

It’s very easy to get into Alyssa’s life. The repetition of her issues – worrying about moving again; worrying about Jessica, her new foster; trying to avoid close relationships, etc. – together with the many flashbacks solidify my feelings for Alyssa towards the end. Everything Alyssa does and feels came out from an experience she had. I may tell her to quit mopping around at times and stop running away from people but then later on, it comes back to me that something happened to her, that she’s sacred of this or that, that she worries about something, that all this time she’s carrying some huge burden in her shoulders.

The people around Alyssa were really great. While they do have their own problems, sticking to Alyssa until the end really just made me tear up a little. The friendship Alyssa built with Caleb and Brianna was really beautiful although I wish that the development of their relationship were more moving because sometimes they are just flat.

The conclusion was really lovely. Towards the end, there were a lot of things going on and it was at that point that really made me stick to reading and finishing this. All of Alyssa’s feelings were pouring out from the challenges and revelations coming her way and she’s right there, trying to believe the people telling her that they won’t leave her. The ending honestly moved me, I tear up, and maybe (hopefully) it’s something that I’ll remember for a good amount of time :)

*             *             *

What I Like: (1) how realistic the story is, (2) the relationship between Caleb and Alyssa, (3) how it is very easy to see where Alyssa is always coming from, (4) that beautiful revelation at the end, (5) the nicely written conclusion

What I Didn’t Like: (1) it didn’t moved me as much as I hoped for, (2) I didn’t feel so much for Alyssa, (3) a few chapters seem to be the same

lovely realistic story + easy to understand heroine + beautiful ending = nice read
it’s more of a 3.0 – 3.5 rating for me. I liked Alyssa but I didn’t feel so much for her until the end. The story was realistic and lovely. The ending was quite unforgettable.

*             *             *

“You have every right to feel this way. So what is your life seems perfect to everyone else, that doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings. That doesn’t mean that you can’t feel sad, or overwhelmed, or lost. Just because you haven’t had something tragic happen to you doesn’t mean that you have to be happy and perfect all the time.”

“It’s far better to keep someone as a friend forever, that risk losing them because you fall out of love, you know?”

“Everyone needs a little love though. Don’t you think it’s better to love and have your heart broken than never love at all?”

“What can I say?” Wendy shrugged. “He’s a boy. Boys do weird things when they like you.”

“Yeah, change is terrifying even when you know it’s for the best,” Alyssa commiserated.

Without dreams, we have no hope, and without hope, well, that would be an existence that is too horrible to even contemplate. The tiniest of seeds have hopes, hopes that the sun will come and the rain will give them nourishment, hopes that they will grow big and tall, spreading their leaves to the great sky above.

Sometimes life gives you two things that you can turn into one future, sometimes it makes you pick one.

About Kristi Strong
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Fixing broken computers, wrangling a very spirited little toddler, and creating new fantasy worlds are all parts of the average day for Kristi Strong. While she has called Virginia her home for two decades, her head has rested in two countries, three states, and far too many houses to count. She was more than happy to give up her nomadic lifestyle and settle down with her husband, daughter, cat and chinchilla.

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