Title: Catching Hope
Author: Kathy Cassel
Major Themes: Haiti, Survival, Kidnapping, Adoption
Synopsis: When two newly-adopted teenagers travel to Haiti with their new family, they find themselves immersed in more adventure than they ever wanted—and learn a lot about themselves and what is really important.
There were some things I really liked about Catching Hope. I requested it for review because I thought it sounded different and very interesting. I mean, how many books have you read that are adventures set in Haiti? This was the first one I have come across!
Lexi tells the story in first person; she and her twin brother Levi have both recently been adopted. With their adoptive parents and brother Chad, and a cousin, Jen, they are visiting Haiti. Their adoptive father is a doctor, and often comes to Haiti to volunteer for awhile. Lexi is excited about being in a foreign country, and she enjoys the beach—but the attempted robbery on the first night shakes her up. Jen’s attitude is hard to know how to handle, as well. Will Jen ever accept Lexi and Levi?
When a trip to explore an old mission goes wrong and the teens find themselves prisoners of some evil men, they must pull together to survive. Levi’s diabetes and autism add more challenges, and then a natural disaster strikes. How will the children escape—and can they manage to avoid recapture before they find their way back through the wilderness to their parents? One aftershock after another keep them unsettled, and Levi has to have food and water or he won’t last long. What can they do?
Through everything that happens, Lexi discovers what was missing from her life. She also learns more about love. The changes in Jen through the childrens’ experiences were just as interesting to me, though. I liked reading about the things Jen revealed about herself. As a mother, that was probably the most challenging part of the story; she felt like everything her parents did and said was for show, rather than because they loved her. On the other hand, Levi and Lexi’s new family genuinely loved them and each other. Those were the elements of the story that I liked the best! Children will love the adventure part of the story, as the teenagers had to face one danger after another through most of the book. I would recommend Catching Hope for children over 12; younger children might struggle with it because of the intensity of the action. I thought about reading it aloud to my older children, but decided against it because the 6-year-old would hear it as well, and I am guessing it might give her nightmares.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: Kidnapping, earthquakes, robberies, and being locked in a dungeon may be too much for children.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above