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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Heart with Joy...Review

About the book:
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.

Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make. But ultimately, it’s about the importance of following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.

Julian is a thoughtful, introspective teenage boy and reading Heart with Joy, is like reading his journal.  He's conflicted about his mother leaving and open about missing her.  He loves to cook and is quite the budding gourmet chef and Food Network aficionado.  He likes a girl, but is shy about admitting it and following through.  He enjoys a developing friendship with his elderly neighbor even when his best friend makes fun of him.

What should be a story about teenage angst, is instead a sweet narrative about Julian's experiences growing up.  I loved the relationship Julian and his dad developed.  I do wish there was more closure at the end, but the ending also fit the story.  An engaging read that is easily recommended for teens or adults.

Some readers will be interested to know that there are incidental teenage references about sex.

Thanks to the author for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Steve Cushman here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. This sounds like a sweet story even without closure at the end.

  2. You have a real nack for writing, it kept me entertained the whole time