Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
If one were to look up the definition of "grace," this is what one would find: a virtue coming from God or disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency among others. But either of these definitions could apply to the beautiful story written by Mr. Evans.
GRACE is another amazing story written by the author of THE CHRISTMAS BOX. For those who have never read anything by Mr. Evans, GRACE will not disappoint, and will most likely lead you to read the rest of his works.
For those that are already fans (such as myself), this is another wonderful novel. Many of Mr. Evans' stories celebrate the Christmas season. Though not completely revolving around the holiday, GRACE reaches into the heart and touches all that is special with the Christmas spirit.
Eric's life is far from wonderful. After his father hurt his back, the family packed up everything they owned and moved from California to Utah. Money has dried up in the summer of 1962 and, to survive, his family moves into the house left vacant by the death of his maternal grandmother. The house is falling apart, but they are together and have family nearby to help them.
To help with finances, Eric works at McBurger Queen after school. It's there, while cleaning up after closing, that he discovers a girl "dumpster diving" (sorting through the Dumpster for food). He recognizes the girl from one of his classes, but doesn't want to embarrass her. Instead, he invites her inside and offers her the food that would otherwise be discarded.
While she is eating, he learns her name is Grace. She admits she is running away. Eric can't fathom what a girl his age will do to survive. Without thinking of the consequences, he offers up the only place he can think of, the clubhouse in the far corner of his backyard that he built with his younger brother, Joel.
He sets Grace up in the clubhouse with a heating pad for warmth, a flashlight, a transistor radio, and a supply of sleeping bags. As time goes by, the two become friends. He sneaks her food when he can. She sneaks out when it seems safe, and passes her time in the clubhouse with a collection of books from the library.
But her family starts a frantic search for Grace. Announcements are made at school. Flyers are put up around town. And eventually it makes the evening news. Eric is terrified he will be found out and that they will find Grace. He vows to keep her secret. His resolve grows more so when she reveals the reason for running away.
Eric is only fourteen, and the pressure from all sides start to mount. He knows Grace can never be turned over to her family, but what can a teenager do to help her in the end?
Eric berates himself as a grown man that he couldn't help Grace more. He continues to search for the grace he doesn't feel he deserves. Reminiscent of the ending of Saving Private Ryan, the main character searches for the goodness that he hopes he has lived up to in the eyes of those that have gone before him.
Mr. Evans has a way of bringing forth buried feelings. GRACE touches you deep in the spirit and makes you want to be a better person. With the upcoming Christmas season, may we all show a bit of grace to those around us.
This book takes the reader back to the 1960's. Picture a teenage boy. He's gangly. He's awkward. He's got ackney. His family is hurting for money. He's not sixteen yet so his boss at the fast food joint doesn't have to pay him even close to minimum wage. His family hasn't lived in town long, and he doesn't feel like he fits in. Enter Grace. In an era before children's rights, Grace has been repeatedly raped by her step-father. She has become a runaway. Our hero finds Grace living in a garbage can. He rescues her, feeds her, and let's her stay in the fort his brother and he had built in their backyard. He's only a teenager though. How long can two brothers hide a runaway girl that the whole town is now looking for? How long can they keep grace safe? This story has nobility, friendship, love, and extreme tragedy. I thought it was very well written, very well told, and so immensely sad, that I don't think that I will ever listen to it more than once. Does this review help?
This book grabbed me from the very beginning, and did not let up. It is the story of Grace, a pregnant teenage runaway, and Eric, the boy who loves, and tries to help her.
It is not a "feel happy" type of read, but a very real novel, that gets to the heart of the characters.
I recommend it.
A very poignant story that is sure to touch your heart and well worth reading and one you will reflect on even after the last page is read.
A great quick read. Grab the box of tissues. Heart felt story about a first love.