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5 stars for Mendel by Damone Bester #comingofage #yalit #fiction #bookreview

Title: Mendel

Author: Damone Bester

Genre: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Fiction

Book Blurb:

Imagine the mid 1980's, last day of school, summer break. A teen rushes to meet his mother, who is being released from the hospital after cancer surgery. When the teen arrives, he finds out his mother is dead, but his ex-gangbanging dad, who's been in jail the last eight years is at the hospital ready to take the teen home.

Mendel is a coming-of-age story about a high school senior who must learn how to forgive as he navigates life without his mother. Things come to a head when the teen accidentally finds his mom's diary. In the journal, he discovers his mother's dreams of becoming a collegiate track star were derailed due to getting pregnant with him. To honor his mother, he joins Mendel's track team, but before he could cash in on any scholarship offers, his father's thuggish past catches up with them when a gun-toting nemesis comes seeking revenge. The teen must decide between saving his own life or sacrificing it all to save his estranged father.

2022 BookFest Award winner.

My Review:

A young man finds purpose and identity by joining the track team, but will he lose it all to save his father’s life? Our hero is a senior in high school but after losing his mother to cancer and being forced to live with his estranged father, he feels lost and alone. He discovers his late mother’s diary and reads about her dreams of being a college track star. He decides to honor his mother and become a track star himself. It’s his way to being close to her. He struggles with relating to his father, though. His father has a troubled past and has served time. As he excels in track and gets scholarship offers, his father gets a visit from an enemy who wants revenge. Will he forgive his father and risk losing his life or will he walk away?

Mendel is a riveting coming of age novel dealing with some serious issues like cancer, death, forgiveness, and family. I connected with the characters and my heart went out to the hero. He’s been through so much pain; he deserves good things to happen to him. I liked his relationship with his sister. There’s a tenderness there which caught me by surprise. The plot moved at a good pace with plenty of emotion and drama to keep me invested. The descriptive narration carried the story from start to finish. This book will have an impact on any reader and it is one I highly recommend, especially if you enjoy dramatic coming of age stories.

My Rating: 5 stars

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Author Biography:

Damone Bester was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside. He is an author, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and voiceover artist. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University. Damone currently lives in the Twin Cities area.

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Reviewed by: Mrs. N


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