Thursday, 12 May 2011

More Reviews for Facing Demons

I’ve been working with Irene Watson, managing editor of Reader Views, to get my pre-publication publicity on the right track. Part of this involves Irene and her team sending out galleys of Facing Demons to reviewers from various book review organisations. I posted my first review in April and have since received a couple more, which I’ll post in full here. So far my experience with Reader Views has been excellent, and I would highly recommend their very professional range of services for authors.

Book Review for:  Facing Demons by Ashley Sanders
Reviewed by:  Douglas R. Cobb for

What do you do, where do you turn, when you have no hope, when you think that you have nowhere to turn?  Facing Demons by Ashley Sanders is a fascinating, page-turning YA novel which explores the turmoil-filled, tumultuous lives of four teenage individuals who face tragic and desperate situations, and the often self-destructive decisions they make, that lead them to the brink of wanting to end it all.  It's also about how they all wind up at the Anchor Beach Rehabilitation Clinic, ran by Blake Solomon, and how their lives are changed for the better.  As the title suggests, they each have to face their demons before they can conquer them.  We get to learn very dramatically about the four people's lives because each one tells their tales in the first-person, present tense.  The stories of Jason (a gang member), Rebecca (a drug addict and child prostitute forced into it by thugs who keep her doped up), Matthew (a homeless African refugee living on the streets), and Felicity (a reckless, high-risk taking, rich kid who cuts herself), will live with you long after you finish the book.

Blake Solomon gets a second chance at life when his metastatic cancer goes into remission in the prologue of Facing Demons.  That's a big reason behind why he wants to give other people a chance, also.  He's a great character, because though he has doubts like all people do, he keeps his resolve strong, despite some setbacks he experiences with the four other main characters.  He deals with their problems in a kind, concerned, attentive manner, and it's apparent he deeply cares for his patients and wants to help them succeed on their road to recovery.  Blake is described as looking "a bit like George Clooney, even has the stubble, but with a few more streaks of grey in his hair."

The stories of the characters Rebecca, Jason, Felicity, and Matthew are introduced in the novel's first chapter, "Their Stories."  They present their lives in stark and honest vignettes that are powerful and moving, and the author makes them come alive for the reader.  I feel fortunate that my two kids, one now seventeen and one who will be twenty-one soon, have not had to handle the problems and face the terrible situations that the teens of Facing Demons are forced to confront. 

Rebecca, for instance, realizes as she's being used by criminal figures as a prostitute that she's heavily addicted to drugs.  Though doing without them causes her to experience withdrawal symptoms, she decides to do just that, and hide the hypodermic syringes full of drugs that are given to her, until she has enough to carry out her plan of "escaping" from them through injecting several syringes full of drugs into her scarred veins, one after another, hoping to die from an overdose.  She passes out, and doesn't remember much after that.

Jason is a violent gang member who beats up any rival gang members who infringe on his gang's territory.  He has scars from several past battles, and many tattoos he displays proudly.  He tells us that he was not always like he now is, but that he became a gang member "when my family was murdered by a vicious Negro gang."  Since that time, he says that he has hunted the killers down, and that: "They are now all in jail, two of them paraplegic."  He wouldn't likely have ever wound up at the Anchor Beach Rehabilitation Clinic, if it hadn't been for eventually meeting up with someone who shoots him.

I won't get into the reasons why the other two teens who are the focus of Facing Demons wind up at the clinic; I don't want to reveal any further information that might spoil your enjoyment of this finely crafted novel.  When you read their stories, you'll wonder how the teens managed to last as long as they have, before they fall under the care and guidance of Blake Solomon.  It's lucky or by God's good will and grace that they end up at the Anchor Beach Rehabilitation Clinic, for if they hadn't have made it there, they likely would have become casualties of their fates, their lifestyles, their poor decision making skills, and their backgrounds.

Facing Demons is an inspirational novel about teens facing some very desperate circumstances, of their own making, and much that is beyond their control.  It is a great book that will move you profoundly as you read it, pull at your heartstrings, and perhaps jerk a few tears from your eyes.  It's a novel that I recommend for any teens, though perhaps specifically for any teenager who is going through similar problems in his/her own life.  Facing Demons is also a perfect novel for parents to read, along with their teens, and then use it as a tool to open up meaningful dialogue with them.  If you like reading page-turning, touching stories of hope in spite of sometimes having to manage with the crappy hand that life has dealt you, I would highly recommend that you check out Facing Demons by Ashley Sanders today!

Feathered Quill Book Reviews

P.O. Box 304
Goshen, MA 01032
Phone: 413-268-3461 Fax: 413-268-0381

Facing Demons

By: Ashley Sanders
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication Date: September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-42694801-5
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: May 3, 2011

Facing Demons is an extremely heart-rending book that will keep the reader’s attention
throughout. It is a fictional account about the real issues that face young and old alike in
today's world.

This totally inspiring novel starts with Blake Solomon, who is the Director of a rehab
center on the shores of the ocean in Australia. The place is a refurbished hospital and the
program is called "Another Chance at Life." Four young people have been brought to the
center with the hope that they will be able to get a new chance at life. First there is Jason,
who is gang member. Jason lost his family (mom, dad and sister) to gang violence. He
was so overwrought that he formed his own gang to retaliate and when caught, was given
the choice of rehab or jail. Needless to say he chose rehab. Next up is Rebecca, a teen
who never knew her own family and grew up in foster homes. She was mistreated and
finally ran away and was found on the street by someone she thought would save her.
Unfortunately, he had other ideas and began to abuse her sexually. Rebecca ran away
again but this time when she was found, fate was smiling on her and she was sent to the
rehab center. The third member of this group is Felicity, a girl from a wealthy family
who is ignored by her parents and goes wild on the street. When she delves into drugs
and alcohol, her parents send her off for rehabilitation. The final teen in our story is
Matthew, a refugee from Africa. He has had a horrific life, being separated from his
family at an early age and forced to live on the streets. When he was caught trying to
steal some food from his work place, the store’s owner caught him and tried to burn him

These four people show up at "Another Chance at Life" with large chips on their
shoulders. To avoid jail, they were forced into treatment and while they have left their
individual worlds full of violence behind, it’s clear that they don’t want to be there.
They are full of hate and are angry at everybody, including each other. Will Blake be
able to help these troubled teens?

Blake sends them on a camping trip where they slowly came together as they learn to rely
on each other to get back to the Center. It is clear that the stay at “Another Chance at
Life” will be a very difficult time for all of them including Blake and his wife Anne, who
are facing an extremely tough battle in their own lives. Blake has been diagnosed with
cancer, and has promised himself that by helping these kids, he would get another chance at life too.

This book covers many of the problems facing young people today who are on the wrong
path. The story speaks strongly on issues including racism, drugs and alcohol, violence,
and sexual abuse. With it's very explicit coverage of these topics it is definitely not for
the faint-hearted. However, it is a real eye-opener for readers who do not understand
why some kids act the way they do. A perfect book for children in trouble, parents trying
to understand, and an in-depth look at turning their lives around.

Quill Says: Facing Demons is a good narrative concerning problems that are plaguing
young people today and will likely bring hope to many.

Thanks for reading! :)

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