Blind Turn

Fiction - Womens
319 Pages
Reviewed on 01/11/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Cara Sue Achterberg is the author of national best-selling novels, GIRLS' WEEKEND and I’M NOT HER. Cara is also the co-founder of Who Will Let the Dogs Out, a nonprofit initiative to raise awareness and resources for shelter dogs, and has written two memoirs about her experiences rescuing dogs: ANOTHER GOOD DOG: ONE FAMILY AND FIFTY FOSTER DOGS, and most recently ONE HUNDRED DOGS AND COUNTING: ONE WOMAN, TEN THOUSAND MILES AND A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF SHELTERS AND RESCUES. For more information, visit

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

Liz is a single mother working hard to raise her daughter, Jessica, who appears to be the daughter every mother dreams of having: track star, good student, and an all-round good kid. But a phone call from Liz’s ex-husband, summoning her to the hospital, tears their world apart. A man is dead, and it appears Jessica is to blame. But she can’t remember how it happened. In Blind Turn, Cara Sue Achterberg takes readers on a journey to experience the tumultuous ups and downs of emotions felt by a mother struggling to protect her daughter from a terrible fate and to help her move on from debilitating guilt and shame. Blind Turn also puts us in the shoes of the teenager tormented with guilt, struggling with social rejection, and battling terror of her possible fate at the hands of the courts. Can one mistake - one she can’t even recall making - ruin her life?

Blind Turn is an examination of forgiveness. It’s also an examination of love, the challenges of parenting, and of society’s reaction to rumor, innuendo, and assumption. While ultimately an uplifting story, Blind Turn is both tragic and emotional. It is more than a little disturbing to have to acknowledge that this could be anyone’s story. It could happen to you or me. Cara Sue Achterberg has created characters who come to life and make you cry and fear for the people whose emotions you feel as keenly as if you were living their nightmare. She makes you rage at the cruelty and unfairness of people who, based on rumor or assumption, presume the right to judge. And she makes you cheer for those who show compassion and understanding, and ultimately for Jess, whose courage and wisdom are a lesson to us all. I have no hesitation in awarding this superbly written story 5 stars, and I will actively seek out other books by Cara Sue Achterberg. She is clearly a master of her craft. Flawlessly edited. Beautifully presented. Blind Turn is everything I expect a truly great novel to be.

Lisa Montanaro

Loved this book! I am a sucker for a mother-daughter story, and this one delivers. It alternates points of view between the mother and her teenage daughter, who is involved in a tragic car accident. There is great character development, a really interesting plot, some legal court room drama, and a potential love interest for the mother. I particularly liked the relationship the mother had with her ex-husband and the way that was developed and how they were forced to interact while the daughter was going through this difficult time. Cara Achterberg’s writing is so accessible that it makes you feel like a really good friend is taking you by the hand and telling you the story. I enjoyed spending time with the characters and was sad when the book ended, which is always a good sign for me.

Karolyn Sherwood

BLIND TURN, by Cara Sue Achterberg, is the story of a teenage girl who hits and kills a man while driving and possibly texting. I prepared myself for a sad story, but this novel is so much more. What starts as a simple story about one girl's misfortune turns into a cautionary tale. Who among us has not glanced at our phone while driving? This story illuminates how one mistake can change the lives of many people—possibly even end someone's life. But BLIND TURN then grows into a story about forgiveness: how and why to forgive others, and the importance of forgiving one's self, because we have all made mistakes, we are all human.

Set in a small Texas town where football is practically a religion, Jessica Johnson has killed the town's beloved football coach. Everyone, especially Jessica, is devastated. Her divorced parents knew and loved Coach Mitchell. The characters are well-drawn, relatable people with personal, familial, and financial troubles. As each character struggles through his/her own circumstances, it becomes nearly impossible to put the book down as the girl's trial approaches. Will she or won't she go to prison?

But there's another interesting social dynamic that Achterberg may or may not have intended. In BLIND TURN, Jessica is a "good teenager" and the victim is a town hero. Both of those factors up the intensity of the story, but this is a sad reality in America that has only recently come to light. If the driver were a young black male, for example, would the reaction of the small town and the outcome have been the same? If the victim had been a homeless person or unknown neighbor would the reaction and outcome have been the same? Research has shown that attractive blond children who have gone missing are more likely to receive national attention than poor or disadvantaged children. That is so sad. We should care for everyone as if he or she were a good, beloved, attractive friend. Because, we are all human.

BLIND TURN shines a light on the power of humanity.

FIVE intense STARS

Gina Moltz

Blind Turn is a story with everything. Wonderful characters you begin to think are your friends. Real situations and story lines that could be your own life. Nothing is sugar coated. My absolute favorite part of the story is learning about forgiveness from Coach Mitchell’s wife, Helen. We need more Helens in this world. A character who makes me cry is a big deal to me. Jess learning about taking responsibility was also huge. Great life lessons that everyone could benefit from.

Laura Drake

Writing this with tears in my eyes. A hard-hitting subject, handled beautifully. The writing is excellent, the characters SO real. Heartwarming and wise...this book will stay with me a long time.

Andd Becker

This remarkable book has realistic characters, realistic dialogue, and a realistic scenario. Take two teenagers, one text message, and --- thwump! Is anyone prepared to enter the world of criminally negligent homicide, pretrial conference, plea agreement? Does anyone know what happened in that car? Do the players in this drama need to ponder timestamp on phone, forgetfulness, remembering? Do they need to know that they are strong enough to endure? How is it possible that one seemingly minor decision could cause so many major changes?

The mother/daughter dual narrative is a format that works well. Maybe because of the vast gap between the mother's thoughts and the daughter's thoughts.

The author takes the reader on a fast-moving journey filled with choices and decisions.

Jennie Rosenblum

This story deftly deals with a devasting accident and the ripple effect it has on a community. Each character is isolated in their own bubble of emotions yet affected by all the others. I think this book would be a great Book Club pick as there are so many discussions and conversations that arise while reading.

How far are you willing to go to protect your child? And what is possible versus what should be done? How well do we know others, even those we are sharing a home with? What are the ties that bind us to others, whether family, marriage, friendship, or acquaintance?

With the setting of a small town in Texas, the location directly affects all the characters. Not just as a place but as an environment. Having grown up in a small town I could easily relate to everyone knowing your business even when it might not be the real version of an event.

This is not just a story of loss but also its deep and lasting ramifications.

Erin Clark

'Blind Turn' describes that unthinkable, horrifying event that could really happen to anyone driving a car. A glance away from the road to a phone and tragedy occurs. Jess Johnson is driving her best friend Sheila home from school when her phone lights up with a text. Jess is a careful driver and never drives and texts but somehow the car leaves the road and a beloved football coach and his dog who happened to be walking on the road are killed. Even though Jess does not remember any of the 'accident' she is charged with homicide.

So begins the tale of a small Texas towns vilification of a young girl, an honor student and athlete and how she and her family navigate through their inner demons, self doubts and finally to a path of forgiveness on the other side. The author does a magnificent job of bringing the characters to life. She speaks for them in a true and totally believable narrative. Jess is a teenage girl with hopes and dreams that have been side railed by this tragedy. Liz, her mother is desperate to protect her daughter. She is fiercely independent as a single mother but must reach out for help from a lawyer she knows is interested in her romantically, not something she is comfortable with. Jess’s dad is the perpetual Peter Pan who is still occasionally around as a father figure, but he is not of much help. The path of these characters is difficult and heartbreaking but in the end so very fufilling. I loved these characters with all their doubts and flaws, they were all so very human. My take away from this book is that forgiveness, while so hard to give to ones self, is the bigger part of love. Very highly recommended.