Summer of Hard Choices

A Heartfelt Mystery about Loss, Truth, Friendship, Forgiveness

Christian - Thriller
107 Pages
Reviewed on 04/22/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

This is the second novella about PerryAnn and MatiLou. I began with a mission to write about two girls who shared a passion for nature and wanted to make a difference, but the story evolved into more. I suppose it is because life is complicated and what they’d experienced slithered into my story as I wrote about their love for nature. I then had to tell the truth about what they’d been through. I had to tell about PerryAnn’s boy craziness and the loss of her parents. Then MatiLou’s horrific night of bullying crept into the plot. The story wove itself and it was no longer about two girls who want to save nature. It was about their friendship and the truth they sought. Yes, their trials were hard. Life is sometimes hard, but how they coped is the message they share. And then I think about Job and what he endured. He wrote “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you." This brings me back to my original theme of two girls who love nature and want to make a difference, but I suppose in a third novella, if there is one, the story will again tell itself based on their experiences, and I will have to tag along with my pen in hand.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Summer of Hard Choices by Martha Passel is 'A Heartfelt Mystery about Loss, Truth, Friendship and Forgiveness.' PerryAnn lost her parents when their bus veered off the road. Ten years on, she wants to know what happened. Together with MatiLou, she embarks on a journey of discovery, one that is fraught with danger but eventually leads them to the truth about that fateful day. Along the way, MatiLou and PerryAnn have to deal with their own personal demons, PerryAnn having to come to terms with losing her family, and MatiLou dealing with the traumatic scars left by childhood bullying. They have some tough choices to make but the journey builds a strong bond between the two girls, a bond that will survive anything and last for a lifetime. Join the two girls on their enlightening journey filled with mystery and answers.

Summer of Hard Choices by Martha Passel was a short but good read. It’s more than just a mystery story; it’s a story of coming to terms with the card that life has dealt you, of facing down your demons and learning how to live with the past so you can enjoy the present. As well as a great mystery to solve, we also learn of the bonds of friendship and family in a balanced story that flows well. The characters are lovely people; you really can identify and empathize with them. You learn who they are and what they want to be and you learn that, sometimes, forgiving is the only option, even if it is the hardest one. It is a sequel to another story, one I didn’t read, but the author does a good job of giving enough background information so you know what’s gone on before. Good read, especially if you want to while away a couple of hours in someone else’s world.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Summer of Hard Choices: A Heartfelt Mystery about Loss, Truth, Friendship, Forgiveness by Martha Passel is a story about two friends, Perry Ann and Matilou, as they embark on an emotional journey to find the truth about an accident that took the lives of Perry Ann's family, ten years after it occurred. Bullied in her childhood, Matilou is emotionally scarred too. And as they investigate and unravel evidence of a cover-up in the summer of 1983, the painful trauma of the past ten years comes back to them. Will resolving the mystery heal their emotional wounds or reopen the scars they have been carrying for a long time?

Martha Passel's Summer of Hard Choices is an engaging story between two friends and their journey back to a troubled past. The plot is quite original and, as the story develops, the reader will find out that the emotions involved here are not that simple after all. Martha Passel's descriptive style is vivid and involves the simplest of details. As such, it is easy to empathize with the main protagonists of the story. Driven to find out the mystery of her loss, Perry Ann is as relentless as any veteran investigator. Matilou, on the other hand, finds herself on the threshold of so many decision-making moments that it has become for her a summer of hard choices. And these choices will have tremendous effects on the young women's lives. This Christian thriller novel is a perfect fit for its target readers.