About the Book
Book: Catching Hope
Author: Kathy Cassel
Genre: Young Adult, action/suspense
Release date: February 1, 2021
Catching Hope—a pursuit fraught with danger.
Newly adopted Lexi Michaels is taking her first real vacation as she, twin brother Levi, adoptive brother Chad, and new cousin Jen head to Haiti where their dad, a pediatrician, will be volunteering in an island clinic. But who is the man who displays such hatred for the Michaels when they arrive at their resort? Is an attempted burglary as random as it appears? Will Jen ever accept the newcomers to the family? When the four teens set out to explore Haiti’s sights and history on their own, an unexpected encounter and natural disaster plunge them into adventure and danger. With their very survival at stake, can the four teens work together or will Lexi’s dream of a “forever family” end in tragedy?
There were some things I really liked about Catching Hope. I requested it for review because I thought it sounded different and very interesting. I mean, how many books have you read that are adventures set in Haiti? This was the first one I have come across!
Lexi tells the story in first person; she and her twin brother Levi have both recently been adopted. With their adoptive parents and brother Chad, and a cousin, Jen, they are visiting Haiti. Their adoptive father is a doctor, and often comes to Haiti to volunteer for awhile. Lexi is excited about being in a foreign country, and she enjoys the beach—but the attempted robbery on the first night shakes her up. Jen’s attitude is hard to know how to handle, as well. Will Jen ever accept Lexi and Levi?
When a trip to explore an old mission goes wrong and the teens find themselves prisoners of some evil men, they must pull together to survive. Levi’s diabetes and autism add more challenges, and then a natural disaster strikes. How will the children escape—and can they manage to avoid recapture before they find their way back through the wilderness to their parents? One aftershock after another keep them unsettled, and Levi has to have food and water or he won’t last long. What can they do?
Through everything that happens, Lexi discovers what was missing from her life. She also learns more about love. The changes in Jen through the childrens’ experiences were just as interesting to me, though. I liked reading about the things Jen revealed about herself. As a mother, that was probably the most challenging part of the story; she felt like everything her parents did and said was for show, rather than because they loved her. On the other hand, Levi and Lexi’s new family genuinely loved them and each other. Those were the elements of the story that I liked the best! Children will love the adventure part of the story, as the teenagers had to face one danger after another through most of the book. I would recommend this book for children over 12; younger children might struggle with it because of the intensity of the action. I thought about reading it aloud to my older children, but decided against it because the 6-year-old would hear it as well, and I am guessing it might give her nightmares.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: Kidnapping, earthquakes, robberies, and being locked in a dungeon may be too much for children.
About the Author:
Kathy Cassel lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband and four of their eight children, five of whom are adopted. She is a motorcycle rider, scuba diver, and loves spending time with her family. Her debut novel, Freerunner, was published by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. in 2019.
More From Kathy:
My Experience with Haiti
Prior to the 2010 catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that caused immense damage to the country of Haiti, many people would not have been able to tell you that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola just a two hour flight from Miami.
I knew where it was because our family had adopted a child from Haiti in 1997. At the time the earthquake took place, my husband and I were in the process of adopting twins from a different orphanage in Port au Prince Haiti. It had been over three years and our adoption was not yet complete. During those three years I visited the twins at the orphanage five times. Other family members went with me on some of those trips, and at one point, all of our children still living at home went to visit the orphanage.
This was an eye opening experience for my family. In fact, I volunteered us to do the daily wash. That meant hand washing clothes and sheets for 135 orphans using large metal tubs and harsh soap, then rinsing the clothes in other tubs before hand wringing them and hanging them on clotheslines. Once home, my children no longer complained about unloading the dryer!
Cooking was done in large pots over open fires and mainly consisted of rice and beans, or red sauce over rice. The cooks originally prepared the food in a wooden shack, but more than once one of them would get so hot she’d pass out, so an outdoor area was set up for food preparation.
After the earthquake, there was a mountain of paperwork to be done to get refugee status for children in the orphanages who had families waiting for them. Finally the children were brought to the United States, although some of the orphans went to other countries too, to be united with their forever families. Sadly, many were held in the airport for days before being released. For our family, the long wait was over January 25, 2010. Now our family is complete with three birth children and five adopted children, three of whom are from Haiti.
Some of the places mentioned in the book resemble real places in Haiti, although they have been fictionalized. I hope you will not only read Catching Hope, but will also take time to learn more about the country of Haiti.
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