While most seventeen year-olds work part-time delivering pizzas or whipping up frappuccinos, Brady O’Connell’s job is a little less conventional. Helping his dad with the family ‘business’ is a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly, especially when thousands of dollars are being exchanged. There are rules to be followed, timetables to be kept. But when his best friend Jay gets backstage concert tickets, and business interferes with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet their favorite band, Brady decides to break the rules, just one time.
And one time is all it takes to send his life spinning out of control. When an envelope full of cash ends up in the wrong hands—specifically in the hands of a pretty red-head named Vivienne—things get messy in a hurry. Where Vivienne goes, a whole lot of chaos seems to follow.
But sometimes…chaos is a beautiful thing.
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This was a really interesting YA story that many teens will enjoy. The situations Vivienne and Brady deal with may not be typical teenage situations on the surface, yet it’s still showing teens that thinking and finding solutions to what lies in your path are universal truths everyone deals with. There are two heavy topics that are touched on kind of lightly, but were handled well. The first was minor but kids struggle with their parents divorcing all the time. It was in the past for Brady’s dad and mom, but he still held some residual guilt. I like how Ms. Tully handled it by looking back and then ultimately dealing with Brady’s issues surrounding the divorce. The second topic is one that was a little more involved was Vivienne’s ex’s crazy stalker psycho-ish behavior. Chad was off the deep end. Vivienne’s responses were so typical of teens in that situation. But I like how it’s presented that she talks about it with her friends and continues to find a way out for good. I may not have liked some of what she tried or ultimately how she got out since the final event seemed too easy for all of the lead up. But the fact she kept working on solving the situation and sought help were great to show teens.
I liked Brady. From his acquired savant syndrome making him a math genius to his sweet nature, it was easy to like him right from the beginning of the story. You could tell he fell for Vivienne quickly and struggled with handling the emotions throughout the story. His reactions were definitely typical of a teen falling in love for the first time. It was really quite sweet to watch
I struggled to like Vivienne. It took me until almost halfway before I really got a handle on my feelings for her. It stemmed from her lying right at the beginning and how she handled the envelope situation. She shouldn’t have taken it in the first place. Then after having it and realizing what it was, there should have been a higher priority for her to return it. Even after the events of her leaving her boyfriend’s house. When she calmed down that night she should have gone right back with the envelope. Granted, the entire book would have had to be rewritten. But her lack of regard for someone else’s high value property was off putting. By the end of the story I liked her and was rooting for her to find the things important to her and Bray and for the two of them to be together. She wound up being a sweet girl that gets into some crazy sticky situations more often than not.
I enjoyed the support characters in the story. I liked Brady’s dad the best and Jay a pretty close second. But Kendra, Andrew, and Janet really brought some wonderful emotions and humor to the story. I kind of want to see Andrew get his own book and Kendra to find someone as well. They both seem like they have a but of story to tell. The ending is a wonderful happily ever after for now and as firm as you can make a happy ending when the characters are 17. You can tell they’re both going to work to make their relationship las and be together. I would love to see an epilogue that’s 10-20 years in the future with them still together and what their life looks like. That would be all kinds of fun.
I live outside Cleveland, Ohio with my husband and two awesome kids: a son who is sixteen and a daughter who is fourteen. I spend most days doing mom stuff and writing. Some days I read (Audible) or Netflix binge – these are really good days. I’m also a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan – laugh if you must!
Anyhow, I think my path to becoming an author was pretty unconventional so I’ll tell you a little bit about it…
I went to college to study finance and eventually got my MBA. I slowly climbed the corporate ladder for seven years, and life was great. And then I got pregnant with our first child and the world seemed to turn upside down. That time in my life was insane, and not just because I was overwhelmed with the challenges of a colicky baby, but because life throws you curve balls that you can’t always predict. Experiencing all kinds of scary and strange symptoms, I just knew something wasn’t right physically. Two years later, just months after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
I only mention it because the diagnosis completely changed my perspective on just about everything. We decided to buy a smaller house and simplify our lives. I decided to hold off going back to work and stay home with the kids. And that’s when I decided to write a novel – having no idea what I was getting myself into. After a lot of self-doubt, frustration, and procrastination, Hope for Garbage eventually came to be. Those of you who have read it already know it is filled with the message of hope – things will get better. I try to remember this in my own life and it is not easy. Every day MS seems to challenge me a little more.
But I also know that if it wasn’t for this crappy disease, I am 99% sure I would not have chosen the path I did. I would not have the same perspective on life, and I would not have decided to write a novel. I never would have gotten so much wonderful feedback on Hope for Garbage, like when a reader named Scott wrote a review on Amazon right before Christmas, saying the book made him “feel at peace and hopeful for the future.”