Friday, November 5, 2010

Heart With Joy by Steve Cushman

Title: Heart With Joy
Author: Steve Cushman
Publisher: Canterbury House Publishing
Paperback, 182 pages
Date Published: September 28, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
In Heart With Joy, fifteen-year-old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Venice, Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years.  While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.

Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon.  This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before.  Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart.  And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store.  By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.

Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make.  But ultimately, it’s about the importance of following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.
The story of 15 year old Julian Hale doesn’t take off at a rapid pace, full of action and adventure. His tale is real; it builds and builds as Julian grows. Julian’s relationship with his mother, father, neighbor, and even himself, evolves in the short months after his mother leaves. He learns more about himself in those months than he ever did before.

Cushman approaches Julian’s story with care and ease. This is a boy who feel s alone, who is alone. His mother left for Florida and he barely speaks to his father. Julian has to make it on his own until summer when he can move in with his mom. Slowly, but surely, Julian grows closer to his dad, gets to know his elderly neighbor Mrs. Peters and finds out just what fills his heart with joy. His interactions with Mrs. Peters are a highlight of the book. She brings him out of his shell and makes him want more out of life, and in the process, Julian grows closer to his dad.

Cushman’s writing easily flows off the page and Julian’s various food dishes sound absolutely delectable. A warning to all: Do not read this book when you’re hungry. It’s worse than grocery shopping when you’re hungry. His newfound friendship with grocery store cashier Tia is sweet and tender. It is everything first relationships are supposed to be.

Heart With Joy is the type of book that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It’s a heartwarming story of a boy becoming a man, finding out what matters most in his life, and learning to love along the way. It’s uplifting and full of passion – a book about life, about family, and about the little things in life that mean the most. Don’t miss this one.

Opening line: The year I turned fifteen two things happened that took me by surprise: my mother moved out and my father decided to run a marathon. ~ pg. 9

Favorite line: And we both laughed, laughed like a father and son on the way to some place we had never been before. ~ pg. 108
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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5 comments:

Melissa said...

Awesome review, Nikki! This book seems like it's right up my alley...I definitely need to try it! :)

Adriana said...

Haha! I just finished reading this book and it's definitely not one that should be read on an empty stomach. It made me so hungry. It's a sweet book though.

~The Book Pixie said...

This book is a favorite of mine and I agree with everything you said. Excellent review and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :D

~Briana

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I mean, I figured I would like it, but it really resonated with me.

Bere said...

This book sounds absolutely wonderful, Nikki. Your review is brilliant and makes me all the more excited to get myself a copy. Thanks so much, Nikki! =D

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