Kathryn Cushman writes a heart-lifting novel about two young women of wildly different circumstances and how they help each other return to hope. On the one hand is Sabrina, the senior college student who is trying to make the best of her life after her dreams of becoming an Olympic runner and missionary are crushed by health issues; on the other is Brandy, the teen who is throwing her life away for lack of any dreams after a childhood of neglect. Both were born with the same talent of running. In order to keep Brandy out of juvie, Sabrina gets talked into coaching the girl, adding one more stress on top of her schoolwork, job, health problems, and internship applications. Will Brandy learn to stay out of trouble long enough to find her place? Will Sabrina be able to work through the pain to find God's true calling in her life? And will they both learn to grasp onto hope again?
I wasn't sure what to expect from the book, considering my preference is for historical fiction, followed by mystery/suspense; contemporary dramas are typically not my favorites. However, Cushman surprised me with a deep, uplifting novel. The drama is realistic, not verging on a soap opera. The main focus of the novel is on the relationship between Sabrina and Brandy, and how it helps them overcome their troubles. The novel is not without a little romance, and it also discusses family love, both the gentle, unconditional kind and that which leads to a tense parent-child relationship.
Chasing Hope is a novel full of family values, hope, and triumph in God, even in the midst of tragedy and unforeseen circumstances. While I would say it was written for adults, I think teens would appreciate it too. Honestly, besides being just a plain good read, one could just about use it for a bible study, there is so much good stuff in there - from reaching out to regaining hope to choosing to do the right thing to overcoming with God. I highly recommend this book. 5 out of 5 stars!
Thank you Bethany House and GoodReads for a free copy through the First Reads program!
While I have not read many books along the same vein, Chasing Hope reminded of the Sherwood Pictures film Facing the Giants, and it fits well among their family-centric movies, which also include Fireproof and Courageous. If you like one, I'd recommend the other!