Title: Joshua: A Novel
Author: Robert Fishell
Genre: Fiction, Coming of Age, Young Adult
Life is bleak for 12-year-old Joshua Miller. He's failing in school, his teachers pick on him, his classmates laugh at him, a relentless bully terrorizes him, his best friend has moved away, and he's hopelessly in love with the prettiest girl in his school. At home, his harsh and distant father has all but disinherited him, he worries his mother to tears, and he squabbles senselessly with his pretty, talented sister Anica, who seems to be everything he is not. Then adolescence comes along and really complicates things. A torrent of long-denied feelings for a sister who once adored him compel Joshua to repair the damage he's done to their relationship. His longtime babysitter helps him to understand things his mother doesn't know how to tell him and his father doesn't want him to know. Then, in a murky funeral home far away from home, he meets a distant cousin who changes his life in ways he could never have imagined. As Joshua starts to turn his life around, his father's tortured past catches up with him, and life at home begins to unravel. Joshua is faced with a decision that could imperil his very life. He will risk everything to protect his sister, and in the process, he learns the power of love and the meaning of courage.
Life for 12-year-old Joshua Miller is an endless roller coaster of bullying, hardship and loss. But as puberty sets in, Joshua’s life starts to unravel. His home life becomes a nightmare and he knows he must protect his sister at all costs. Will the pretty girl at school reciprocate his feelings? Will he finally become close to his sister, releasing the jealousy inside? Will he gather his courage to protect himself and his sister from an abusive father? Will he learn the true power of love and be able to breathe without fear?
Joshua is a very dark, disturbing coming of age story but one I know several teens will be able to relate to. Growing up is all about navigating through the perils of school, home, family, friends and crushes. Bullying in all forms appears in this story and I found it very difficult to read. The sheer violence and emotional toll are clearly portrayed. I give credit to Robert Fishell for not shying away from the brutal truth he’s describing. The ending was unexpected but it provides the right amount of drama, suspense and closure.
Why 3.5 stars? While well written, I found the bullying and abuse over the top. There were times when it seemed it was thrown in and I didn’t see the value of it other than for shock value. The plot stalled in places and the ending was a little rushed. Other than that, it was a great story.
If you’re looking for a gripping coming of age story dealing with stark themes, pick up Joshua today.
My Rating: 3.5 stars
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Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PD2RFL1
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07PD2RFL1
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PD2RFL1
Robert Fishell is the author of Joshua: A Novel and The Adventures Of Spike Bike. He is an Ohio native who moved to Illinois in 1977 where he now lives with his family. He has degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and secondary education. He has worked as an engineer, programmer, math teacher, sheet metal worker, shipping clerk, and printer's devil. He retired in 2014 and now devotes most of his time to his family.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N