Beyond The Hole In The Fence

Young Adult - Coming of Age
256 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alma Boucher for Readers' Favorite

In Gwen Banta's Beyond the Hole in the Fence, authorities in New York sought to remove Rainy and place her in foster care after it was discovered that she and Gramps were not related. After fleeing their home, Rainy and Gramps sought safety in a traveling carnival. When Rainy and Gramps found out that Gramps was wanted for kidnapping, they were compelled to stay undercover with the traveling carnies, who provided them with protection. Rainy and Gramps were wanted by the authorities for a long time, despite having false identities. Rainy knew she would never have that life again, but seeing children her age made her miss the part of herself she had left behind the night she and Gramps ran from their home.

There is a remarkable story in Beyond the Hole in the Fence. People of any ethnicity, origin, or handicap were treated as members of the same family in the world that Gwen Banta created. I was gripped from beginning to end by this page-turner. With all the twists and turns, I was captivated from the first page and kept guessing until the very end. Each character had a distinct personality and a past that contributed to their uniqueness. My favorite character was Bugg. He was big and disfigured from an accident, but he had a heart of gold. He was always looking out for Rainy and protecting her. The story was masterfully written, and it was touching to witness how the carnival people embraced strangers with open arms.

Luwi Nyakansaila

Rainy is a young girl who lives with her sick father and caring grandfather. When her father dies, the authorities try to separate her from her grandpa due to some legal technicality. In an attempt to stay together, Rainy and her grandpa flee and join a traveling carnival. They are welcomed with open arms, and Rainy grows up, falls in love, and learns valuable life lessons. Despite society deeming them unusual, to Rainy and her grandpa, the carnival members are special and the kindest people they have ever met. Their stories and experiences have led them to the traveling carnival where they are free. However, Rainy and her grandpa are not as free and have to live every day looking over their shoulders. If you want to find out if they will ever be free, read Gwen Banta's Beyond The Hole In The Fence.

Beyond The Hole In The Fence is an emotional story that addresses several social issues, including racism, discrimination, and morality. The book highlights the beauty of seeing misfits coming together, finding acceptance, and standing up for each other. Rainy's story is a testament to the power of unconditional love and empathy. The plot is well-crafted, shedding light on the dark side of societal norms and their impact on those who do not fit in. Rainy's character development is one of the key highlights, showcasing her mental and physical growth. The ending is bittersweet, but it is still satisfying. Overall, this is excellent work, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys captivating and emotionally engaging stories. I am looking forward to reading more of Gwen Banta's work.

Frank Mutuma

Rainy's life is quite normal until an accident kills her mother while she is visiting Niagra Falls. Her father, who loved his wife so much, doesn't cope very well with losing the love of his life. His life takes a downward spiral; he loses his job, and his health deteriorates. Rainy is left in the care of her grandfather, who also loves her very much. In a drastic turn of events after the death of her father, the state intends to take her into foster care, claiming she is not related to her grandfather. They both decide to run away, and luckily they find refuge in the carnival. Rainy wants to go back to her old life, but is it possible? To find out how they navigate life in the carnival and how their friend Primrose is trying to help straighten things out with the law, pick up Beyond The Hole in the Fence by Gwen Banta. 

Beyond The Hole in the Fence is wonderfully written with a flawless plot that flows seamlessly. It offers a unique perspective on life issues, such as how being born different doesn't make one a monster. I loved the novel touching on issues such as racism and a different approach to education than what I am used to. The characters are well-developed, and the steady-paced narration helped keep me intrigued. Gwen Banta also ensured the emotions and events were vividly captured. Readers will also appreciate the writing style, which is highly engaging with well-crafted dialogue that brings the story to life.