by Bonnie Mercure

This book has been orphaned since the demise of Crossroads Publishing. Check Bonnie's web site for its availability.

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   This book will grab your heart. It grabbed mine, almost against my will. Julie, the sixteen-year-old narrator, and her twin brother Jacob, are the survivors of a horrendous home situation. As the story gradually unfolds, we find out bit by bit just how terrible it was, for example:

   "It would almost be better if we were still with Dad," Jacob whispered. "At least then nothing was expected from us."

    Six months ago Dad had put Jacob in the emergency room, almost ending my brother's life. Yes, Dad used Jacob as a punching bag, thought of me as a surrogate wife, but there had been lulls when he stopped drinking and became almost tolerable. And in a strange way I agreed with Jacob. At least with Dad we knew where we stood.

   Julie's strength of character, and her reaction to adversity, reminded me of Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One. The way the two youngsters are affected by abuse is absolutely lifelike. As a psychologist, and the survivor of trauma myself, I have recognized both Julie's resultant fighting spirit and the determination not to be bowed, and Jacob's inner defeat, with the outer signals of that defeat. And, as in real life, the predators zero in on the victim of previous abuse.

   Julie and Jacob have a secret resource: they can leave their bodies and fly, though they don't know that this is called astral travel. They certainly need the temporary escape this provides as they go from one betrayal to another.

   Despite their many misfortunes, this is not a heavy book. Teenagers will be carried along by Julie's resilience, and the way the author takes us into her inner world.

   Given its intended audience, the language of the book is simple. This is good, but I thought it could have been more colorful, with more vivid description. Characterization is excellent. Perhaps paradoxically, the plot is both lifelike and full of fantasy. The main point of possible improvement is in the ending, which comes too suddenly.

   All in all, a very satisfying 'Young Adults' book that deserves to do well.


Bonnie Mercure   Bonnie Mercure lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She's had numerous short stories published in online and print publications, including Challenging Destiny, Electric Wine, Peridot Books, and Writers' Journal, among others. "The Jacob Theory" is her first published novel.

   Bonnie's website is


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