Official Review: Alley Kid by Bronwin Dargaville

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Lunastella
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Official Review: Alley Kid by Bronwin Dargaville

Post by Lunastella »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Alley Kid" by Bronwin Dargaville.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.-

Fourteen-year-old Jess has been dealt a hard hand in life. Fleeing from the captivity of a halfway house, she hitchhikes aimlessly until a grisly encounter with a truck-driver lands her in the Foster System. Will Jess be able to let her guard down and trust people again?

Alley Kid by Bronwin Dargaville describes Jess’s path in the Foster System and her inner struggle to trust herself and others.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the outstanding character development. Even secondary and incidental characters are well-thought-out and congruent. Their motives, behaviors, and backstories are clear in the mind of the author even if she doesn’t dump them unnecessarily on the page. In fact, my favorite character, Serena, is a secondary one.

I applaud how Bronwin Dargaville deals with the aftermath of sexual assault and abuse. The portrayal of PTSD symptoms and society’s tendency to victim-blame is extremely realistic. For example, the way Jess flinches at people’s touch or how she struggles to recognize her own self-worth are congruent with an abuse survivor’s behavior. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the author also approaches wrongful allegations of sexual assault. It is a topic that’s rarely discussed, but that holds as much importance as real accusations.

This novel is a precious blend of action and thought-provoking passages. It provided me with a genuine inner view of the Foster System, which was especially interesting because we don’t have such a system in my country. It truly made me reconsider and value the effort some foster parents put into receiving a stranger into their families.

The main flaw I found in the novel was the pacing. I’m pretty sure it was intentional, but the book starts strong, and then it goes on a loop of Jess repeating the same pattern of behavior. Of course, this is coherent with how abuse survivors react, but I got to a point of desperation. What makes me think it was intentional is that this zenith coincided with a comment of another character that was just as sick and tired of Jess’s attitude as I was.

A second, minor flaw is that the book has over ten mistakes and typos. These are minor and don’t interfere with the reading flow or enjoyment.

The book contains a lot of profanities. It also has mentions of other adult topics. However, I wouldn’t discourage teenagers from reading it. Some parents might feel uncomfortable with their kid reading profanities and that’s their prerogative, but I think the book touches on important subjects for teens, such as impulse control. I would recommend reading it with the aid of an adult that can discuss the more conflicting parts with them. I have to warn that there are mentions of sexual assault, child abuse, alcoholism, and suicidal ideation. People sensitive to these topics might want to steer clear from this novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic narratives, character-driven stories, and deep dives into psychological hardships. I wouldn't recommend this novel to readers who prefer sci-fi or fantasy.

I rate Alley Kid by Bronwin Dargaville 3 out of 4 stars because of the meaningful topics, the amazing character development, and the realistic way of approaching inner turmoils and societal conflicts. I had to subtract a star for minor editing flaws.

Alley Kid is a testimony to the power of patience, the strength of compassion, the transformative ability of love, and the potential for humans to overcome appalling circumstances and open their hearts. I look forward to other work by the author.

******
Alley Kid
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Tablito
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Post by Tablito »

An amazing character development makes it possible for a secondary character to be a reader's favourite.

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Post by Nqobile771 »

It sounds like the author did a stellar job at portraying the after effects of sexual abuse on the survivor. Thanks for the review, great job!
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Post by Joan642 »

From your review, I think this book would be a compelling read. Nice job on the review.

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Post by Lunastella »

Tablito wrote:
07 Oct 2020, 23:52
An amazing character development makes it possible for a secondary character to be a reader's favourite.
That's true. And, honestly, is probably the most important aspect of a novel for me.
Thanks for stopping by!

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Lunastella
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Post by Lunastella »

Nqobile771 wrote:
08 Oct 2020, 01:11
It sounds like the author did a stellar job at portraying the after effects of sexual abuse on the survivor. Thanks for the review, great job!
She did, and it's not an easy task. A lot of authors either just brush it off or exaggerate things.
Thanks for commenting!

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Lunastella
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Post by Lunastella »

Joan642 wrote:
08 Oct 2020, 05:47
From your review, I think this book would be a compelling read. Nice job on the review.
I'm glad I could convey my enthusiasm for the book. Thank you for your kind words.

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Post by K-A-Y »

From this review, I must say I am inclined to take a shot at this book. Though usually wary of such sensitive topics I believe that the message is one i would benefit from.
Thank you for this!

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Post by Aisha_123 »

We need more books talking about how wrong victim-blaming is and what it does to the victims. I am also glad this book addresses false sexual assault allegations. Very interesting and insightful review, good job!

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Post by Chigo Nwagboso »

Love is the need the greatest. Great review. Trust has be earned . Great review

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Post by Mbrooks2518 »

This sounds like a very well written book, but it's not the type of book I like to read. Great review, though!

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Post by Lunastella »

Mbrooks2518 wrote:
08 Oct 2020, 20:33
This sounds like a very well written book, but it's not the type of book I like to read. Great review, though!
I understand, we all like different genres. But thanks for stopping by!

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Post by Lunastella »

Chigo Nwagboso wrote:
08 Oct 2020, 18:53
Love is the need the greatest. Great review. Trust has be earned . Great review
That is so true. It was especially hard for Jess to trust but, indeed, the job is from both parts. Thank you for your insight!

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Lunastella
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Post by Lunastella »

Aisha_123 wrote:
08 Oct 2020, 13:09
We need more books talking about how wrong victim-blaming is and what it does to the victims. I am also glad this book addresses false sexual assault allegations. Very interesting and insightful review, good job!
I couldn't agree more. Victim-blaming and re-victimization are the primary reasons crimes of this nature go unreported and we need to change this.
Thank you so much for your comment!

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Post by Lunastella »

K-A-Y wrote:
08 Oct 2020, 11:24
From this review, I must say I am inclined to take a shot at this book. Though usually wary of such sensitive topics I believe that the message is one i would benefit from.
Thank you for this!
I'm glad I could convey my enthusiasm. I hope you give it a chance. And if you find the topics too disturbing or triggering, you can always close the book.
Thank you for your comment!

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