In Heart With Joy, fifteen-year-old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Venice, Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.
Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.
This book begs the question, "What fills your heart with joy?" This is what Julian Hale needs to figure out while he deals with his mother leaving, and living with a father he barely knows.
This novel seems to have a natural flow to it, and it read easily and quickly. It was interesting to read how Julian finds his joy, but also to look back at my own life and think about what fills my own heart with joy, and what fills my life with passion. I wasn't expecting the inward reflective outcome from this novel, but I welcomed it!!
Julian is hit with some major life changes in this coming of age novel. Not only is he dealing with his mother leaving, possibly for good, but also other sensitive issues, like death, teenage friendship, new love and parental relationships. The evolution of these issues, especially the evolution of the relationship between Julian and his father, make for a smooth and heart felt story.
I am excited to host a giveaway for Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman!! Just leave a comment on this post, with a valid email address, by Friday, December 2nd. I'll choose a winner using Random.org Sequence Generator, and announce on Saturday, December 3rd! Good luck to everyone and happy reading!!
A special thank you to Steve Cushman for sending me a copy of his touching novel!!