Born For Adversity

The CASA Chronicles Vol 2

Fiction - Literary
284 Pages
Reviewed on 10/05/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Born For Adversity is the second book in The CASA Chronicles by Keith Julius, a story that follows the life of a family after a tragic incident. It begins when nine-year-old Aaron Reed gets injured at a local playground and is brought to the ER. What should have been a routine ER visit quickly turns into something that could tear the family apart when marks are discovered on the boy’s body suggesting child abuse. Laura, his mother, begins to doubt her partner and thinks he might be abusing the young boy. Events that follow are painful, involving Court Appointed Special Advocate Larry Kendall. When the secrets of this family are laid bare, will it have the strength to stay together after everything? Can the family rediscover the trust they knew before this day?

Keith Julius is a gifted writer and I enjoyed the beautiful prose, evocative and filled with compassion, a writing style that allows the humanity of the characters to come out beautifully. The paragraph breaks as well as the unique sentence structure and phraseology make for an interesting read and reflect the rhythms of the story in a brilliant way. The narrative begins with a very intriguing statement: “"Aaron and Evan Reed never made it to the zoo the bright sunny morning they left the house with their mother." The reader begins to look forward, expectantly, to the possibility of something exciting happening. This author uses this style to keep readers engaged, making them feel as though something awful could happen at any moment. Born For Adversity features a powerful conflict and characters that are well written and real. It is fast paced and gripping, an excellent read, indeed.

Grant Leishman

Born For Adversity by Keith Julius takes us into the scary and worrying world of childhood mental illness. Laura Reed is a solo mum, struggling to bring up twin nine-year-old boys, Aaron and Evan, while living with her grandparents and her live-in boyfriend, Ted. When Aaron has an accident at a playground and he is rushed to hospital with a broken leg, the doctor on duty finds something more than just a simple break of his fibula. There is clear evidence on Aaron’s body of abuse and Laura Reed’s world turns upside down. Who could have possibly hurt her little boy? As is required by State Law, Child Services are called in to investigate and the children are initially removed from the family home until a hearing can be scheduled. A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer is appointed to advocate and act on behalf of the two boys and the family is caught up in the middle of an investigation that could alter their lives forever.

I found this trip into a hitherto unknown world to be enlightening and a little frightening. Author Keith Julius has used a fictional story to highlight the tough and often thankless job done by Child Services and especially CASA volunteers all over the country, plus looking at the problem of childhood mental illness. Born For Adversity is a compelling and gripping story that had me unable to put the book down. The author’s style is easy to read, almost conversational, and he grasped both the dialogue and thought processes of a nine-year-old to a tee. There is always something extra about a story that entertains as well as informs about some aspect of our everyday lives and this book does that extremely well. Laura Reed described what was happening to her as “every parent’s nightmare” and I’m sure all parents, like me, will empathize and understand those feelings. The author captures the heartache and loneliness of a solo parent exceptionally well. I can highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story that makes you think.

Viga Boland

Born for Adversity is the second book I have read in the CASA Chronicles series by Keith Julius. Let me begin by saying I applaud the author for embarking on a project like this series which presents, in novel format, stories based on Julius’ own experience working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and/or neglected children. Julius’ style, using simple narrative and lots of dialogue, makes this series an easy, enjoyable read, though what one will learn about the abuse of children isn’t exactly enjoyable.

In Born for Adversity, a 9-year-old twin boy falls off a playground jungle gym and breaks his leg. While the child is hospitalized, a doctor notices signs of past bruising and scarring, leading him and others to suspect ongoing abuse, most likely in the child’s home. The child’s family, especially his mother, is put under the microscope and CASA Larry Kendall takes on the case. Since the child, Aaron, refuses to help explain the marks on his body, Larry has a difficult time zeroing in the truth, until Aaron’s twin, Evan, tells Larry something about his brother that makes him suspect the truth isn’t as simple as it appears. What Larry eventually uncovers surprises him, Aaron’s family and the courts.

In taking on a project like the CASA Chronicles, Julius could have ended up creating a series of books that enlighten with facts and figures but are a heavy, educational read. It’s refreshing he has instead chosen to create stories around real characters in real situations, sharing their heartaches and emotions through their own words and thoughts. Such an approach is so much more engaging, even suspenseful, while simultaneously informing readers about the very important work done by CASA workers, therapists and police. Don’t hesitate to read Born for Adversity. You might know, or even be the parent of a child like Aaron. The truth about Aaron will surprise you.