I was a little skeptical when I started reading Now That I’m Stronger because it starts off slow, with Brianna in a completely sheltered version of herself that we see towards the end of the book. This book opens with Brianna thinking her father is innocent of the crimes he’s been accused of, but she’s not just thinking it, she feels as if he couldn’t have possibly done the things he’s spending time in prison for.
So of course, when Brianna finally starts to find out the truth, her world crashes around her, and by that point, I couldn’t put the book down. It wasn’t necessarily a mystery, but there was always something waiting to be found out, something that would keep you turning the page, whether it was to see how things end up for Brianna, to find out the truth about her father, or to see whether or not Brianna allows herself to be completely in love with Dee.
Valina Rudolph manages to weave together a story that not only has incredible characters but puts these characters in a situation that gives them no choice other than to prove themselves; to prove that strength, perseverance, honesty, and loyalty are qualities that will get you far in life, and make you the type of person you should want to be.
This book isn’t fast-paced, or full of mushy romance, because it’s so much more than your average YA literature as it blends together a setting of what real life is, and it doesn’t sugar-coat it. It’s straight-forward and makes you feel everything Brianna feels. (Warning: This book will most likely make you cry! I did!)
I felt like some parts could have been executed better, but all in all, everything about this book only adds to it’s greatness.
Overall: This book starts slow, but within the first 50 pages, you’ll be hooked and invested in Brianna’s tale of family, first love, and finding herself among all of the people who have either betrayed her or lied to her, while clinging to the few people she loves and can trust. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those looking for something unexpectedly amazing. Keep in mind that there’s a little violence, and may not be suitable for younger readers (I would say 14+).
Rating: 4 Stars
About the Author
Valina Rudolph knew two things from a very young age: she wanted to be a lawyer and she loved to write fiction. She attended John Jay College in New York City, where she majored in Legal Studies and English and she received her law degree from Hofstra Law School. Rudolph currently works as an attorney in New York City. Her love of fiction writing has never waned and Now That I’m Stronger is her debut novel. Rudolph lives in Far Rockaway, New York with her husband.
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