It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Melissa Wiltrout lives in west-central Wisconsin with her two dogs, an energetic terrier named Daisy and a Sheltie named Chester. During the summer months she keeps busy at the family nursery and landscaping business. Writing is her favorite activity, but she also enjoys relaxing with a good book, playing guitar, breeding goldfish, and gardening.
Is there no way out?
Tessa loathes being forced to work in her father’s illegal drug business. Yet her ill-fated attempts at running away only deepen the abuse. Guilt and shame press in, pushing away her real friends and reinforcing her own criminal tendencies.
Tessa yearns for freedom – and something else. Then a neighbor introduces her to God and salvation through Christ. But will faith be enough? Can she overcome the forces that bind her before it’s too late?
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: LIFE SENTENCE Publishing (September 3, 2013)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
front of a loaded shopping cart and shoved through the outer set of glass doors
at Allen’s Super Foods. The plastic bag of hot dogs and bread knocked against
my leg as I took a sharp left and sprinted down the dark sidewalk.
close behind me. I could hear heavy breathing. I ran faster, willing all my
energy into my legs. My breath came in ragged gasps. I kept my eyes fixed on
the lights of the busy street half a block ahead. I sure hope there’s a break
in the traffic. There’s no way I’m gonna be able to stop
if there isn’t…
building and was racing across the final stretch of parking lot when the clerk
caught up with me. He grabbed my shoulders and kicked me in the legs, slamming
me to the pavement. I screamed as pain ripped through my right ankle and leg.
He threw himself on top of me, closing huge hands around my neck and shoulders.
“I got you now, you punk.”
me breathless. I struggled to roll him off, but he tightened his grip. His knee
pressed into my back and his fingernails dug into my shoulder like claws. “Oh
no you don’t.”
“Get . . . off of me.”
off of you all right – when the police get here.” As he spoke, he shifted his
weight higher on my back. My chest began to hurt.
. killing me.”
beep, beep as he pressed the buttons on his cell phone. I was crying. Sharp
pains shot up my leg from my twisted ankle, and I was helpless to relieve them.
Cold pavement bit into my chin. I tasted blood where I’d cut my lip falling. I
made one more attempt to free myself, but it was no use. The guy must’ve
weighed two hundred pounds. At last a police cruiser pulled up with its lights
flashing, and an officer stepped out.
reluctantly. “I caught this little punk red-handed. And it’s not the first time
she’s pulled this. I can prove it.”
myself up, but the officer stopped me, pulling my hands behind my back. Cold
metal clamped around my left wrist, then my right. What on earth was he doing?
Handcuffing me? I hoped nobody was watching.
the officer pulled me to my feet. “So you were shoplifting, huh?” he said.
Frantically I tried to wrench free of the steel cuffs. “He’s lying. He hates
me. You all hate me!”
second officer, a woman, stepped close and took my other arm. She began
steering me toward the black and white car. “My name’s Pat. And you are . . .
from my fight with the cuffs. I had never felt so helpless and humiliated in my
cruiser. “Okay, in you go.”
hard black seat, the bars over the window, the mesh divider. This was for
criminals, not for somebody like me. Did I have to get in? But the firm
pressure on my arm told me I had no choice. I dropped into the seat, my face
hot, wincing as my hurt ankle bumped the door frame.
wasn’t more than eight inches of knee room in front of that seat, and with my
hands squashed behind my back, I was miserable to say the least. They didn’t
really expect me to ride like this, did they?
hard to restrain them. Through the barred window, I saw Bruce enter the store
with my bag of food. As if he needed it. My stomach growled, reminding me I
hadn’t eaten since yesterday.
around to look at me from the driver’s seat.
flush. Is it that obvious I’m a runaway? I thought of the stains on my jeans,
the long, jagged tear in the sleeve of my purple sweatshirt, and the shiny wire
I’d used to reattach the soles of my worn tennis shoes – all things I had
convinced myself no one would notice. I must’ve been crazy.
raising a smell of sweat and dirty clothes. I tried to flip back the tangled
locks of dark hair that kept falling across my face. My teeth chattered, but
not from cold. I was scared of being put in jail.
Station was short. Pat pulled into the garage. From there, she marched me into
a long narrow room. I squinted against the glare of fluorescent lights. Pat
removed the handcuffs and directed me to one of the plastic chairs at a small
off my hurt ankle. By now it had swollen to the size of a small grapefruit. The
pain was agonizing. Had I broken it? I leaned forward and with one hand
loosened my shoelaces. Even that was a painful operation. Making it all the way
back to the garage where I was staying would be impossible.
asked. She pulled the other chair around to sit facing me.
she have to sit so close to me?
in her voice. But did I dare confide in a cop?
you left home?”
tiles at my feet. If only I could get rid of that lump in my throat that
threatened to make me cry.
but she didn’t need to know that.
stealing food this whole time?”
don’t you? You can be fined and even imprisoned for it. If you need food, there
are better ways to get it.”
you this, but stealing is wrong. It’s serious. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
cheeks. What did Pat know? She’d never gone hungry or spent the night under a
deck in the drizzling rain. It wasn’t like I’d hurt somebody. The store would
never miss what little I’d taken.
lap. “I understand the store is not pressing charges this time. However…” She
paused for emphasis. “If this sort of thing happens again, you will be charged
with retail theft. You’ll have to go to court and pay the consequences. Plus it
will get on your record. Do you understand?”
hope. “Does this mean you’re gonna let me go?”
come get you. I take it you’re not on the best terms with them just now. Am I
clenched in my lap. I should’ve known they’d call my parents.
bad, huh? Want to talk about it?”
considered it, but then I shook my head. Talking would only make things worse.
got the time,” she said.
just let me go? It’s not like I’m gonna do this again or something.”
are rules.” Pat laid her papers on the table. “You’re Tessa Miner, am I right?
And your parents are Walter and Julie Miner?”
you don’t hafta call them, okay? I-I’ll just walk home.”
promise. It’s not that far, and…”
far, huh?” There was sarcasm in her voice now. She shook her head. “It doesn’t
work that way, Tessa.”
out. Even supposing the doors weren’t locked, I’d never escape with this ankle.
The muscles in my chest constricted, suffocating me. I leaned my elbows on the
table and forced myself to breathe. I needed to be at my best to face Walter.
I didn’t want to remember. I could see my father standing there, his hands on
his hips as he screamed at me.
there! Now get out here!”
Well, this time I’ll make you!”
shabby white house with its sagging porch, the huge junk heap in the back yard,
and my dad’s green, almost-brand-new pickup truck parked in the driveway. I
could smell the cigarette smoke and the coffee. I could see, too, the secret
garden by the back fence that was my dad’s special concern. He allowed Mom to
plant hibiscus and hollyhocks along the edge, but the rest was off limits. I
learned this the day I tried to capture a baby rabbit that was trapped inside
the fence. Walter caught me in there and beat me bloody, even though I hadn’t
garden, where Walter had locked me up for two days after my last attempt at
running away. I recalled the torture of spending a night leaning up against the
lawnmower, my back aching like fire while I tried to ignore the rodents
scurrying and chewing in the walls around me. I’d be lucky if that was all I
had to face this time.
me to start in fear. Had my father come already? But it was only Pat dropping a
pen. I sank back, my heart still pounding. If only I could awaken from this
nightmare. But try as I did, I could not suppress the memories which played
like a bad movie across my mind.
“Tessa, your father’s here.”
This book starts fast and keeps the pace through out and I read it on day because I just didn’t want to put it down! My heart breaks for Tessa as the book starts with her being arrested and then released to her dad, Walter who is abusive to her her and her mom. After years of abuse at the hands of her husband, Tessa’s mom, Julie has little compassion and I found it hard to sympathize with her plight until the rest of her story comes out. As I said it was a fast paced book, one with a couple twists that one doesn’t usually expect and I actually grew to be sympathetic to Walter and Julie as they strive to change their lives as well as trying to finally do right by Tessa.
I will say there were a few cuss words – BUT – when one is writing about drug and alcohol addiction, abuse, and those who live a depraved life it’s something that they do. I think there were maybe 4 or 5, so not a lot but it did convey the type of life that Tessa and her parents are living. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that the conversion of Tessa’s dad seemed a bit too quick and forced, it would have been nice to have more of a development there instead of a 5 minute conversation where this hardened man realized his need for Christ – although that would have made the book a lot longer. Even though this is a young adult book, written by a Christian, I would not feel comfortable giving the book to my almost 12 year old daughter because the abuse scenes are fairly graphic, the occasional use of language and the drug making/abuse that goes on.
I have to say that Melissa’s first book is well done and I’d like to see another book written that shows us what Tessa is doing now and after her dad’s prison stint. It would be great to see where the Miner family is at five years later and see how Christ is continuing to work in their life, even if that life is fictional – the book does a great job in depicting the abuse that goes on in some houses and that is ignored by schools and even neighbors as well as the drug abuse and the effects of all that combined. This is a well written book and in this day and age, one that needed to be written to bring to light an atrocity that is committed against children every day. Melissa even gives resources to help those who are or have been abused in the back of the book.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws