If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness are just the tip of it. At the age of five when Foster is told, “You don’t belong here,” it was only a mistake, but the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High-school—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what she believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere—or with anyone.
This reality would continue to suit her just fine; however . . . Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.
Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying . . . a secret capable of certain ruin. Either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.
In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.
Okay, I have to be totally honest here. When I first looked at the synopsis of this book I was intrigued. It didn’t sound like the average angst/drama filled contemporary YA book that I avoid at all costs. It sounded really interesting and fun. Then I looked at the page count…. 702 pages is A LOT of book. As daunting as that number was, I really wanted to see if the book was as intriguing as the synopsis. Guess what? It was even better. Not only did I not mind that Awakening Foster Kelly was twice as long as most of the books that I’ve read this year, once I got to the end I would have been perfectly content reading more.
Foster was an amazing character. She was mature way beyond her years. To say she had low self esteem wouldn’t even come close to describing what she thought of herself. She wasn’t self destructive or self loathing though. In her mind, she was just being totally honest. She didn’t matter in the scheme of things and she was ignored because no one saw her. She was perfectly content with that though. If she didn’t interact with anyone, there was no one to disappoint, including herself. Watching this beautiful young woman blossom was just part of what made Awakening Foster Kelly such a great YA read.
The supporting characters in this book were so full of life. Foster’s parents were adoring and as important as their jobs were, their world revolved around Foster. The interactions between them were priceless. They weren’t perfect parents, but that made me love them even more. Foster’s devotion to them was equal to their devotion to her.
Foster’s friends were just as interesting – not to mention fun. I don’t know the last time I read a more entertaining banter and interaction between siblings than there was between Jake and Emily. From the time they were introduced I fell in love with them. They were supportive, loving and protective of each other and they shared that love and devotion with Foster.
And then there was Dominic. I wasn’t sure how to take him at first. You’ll understand once you read the book. His introduction was not impressive, still, you just knew that there was more to him. Once I got to know him though, I loved him as much as Foster did. It was impossible not to. His story, once it was finally revealed, totally broke my heart. There were a couple of times that I thought I had Dominic figured out, but I wasn’t even close. That was a common theme in this book.
I can honestly say that I could never have figured out the way this story eventually unfolded. Beyond being beautifully descriptive and filled with wit, humor, heartbreak and hope, the twists and turns that Awakening Foster Kelly took are jaw dropping. I NEVER saw it coming and once it did I felt like going back and reading chapters and sequences over again to see if I missed a clue. Of course there were some, but still nothing that would have prepared me for where this story ended. There were times that I thought that scenes didn’t make sense or they were disjointed, but once ALL of the secrets were revealed, everything just fit. I applaud Cara Rosalie Olsen for catching me so off guard. I loved it!
Awakening Foster Kelly is so much more than a coming of age novel. It’s a story of finding yourself, accepting who that person is and realizing you’re worth just as much, if not more than the people you ultimately put ahead of yourself. You never see yourself as others see you. That can be both good and bad depending on who you are. There are lessons within these pages for both young and old alike. Foster Kelly came a long way during the course of this book and I really enjoyed taking that journey with her.