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    A Journey of Self Awareness.

    Cascading Petals by Jane C Brady, follows the life Jewel Hart, a pretty, intelligent American teen in her last year of High School. Having been bullied throughout her entire school years, she is dreading the first day of her final school year. Although she has suffered for years at the hands of bullies, she allows herself to hope her last year will be different. Cascading Petals is an emotional journey of pain, love, and self-awareness. It highlights the severe impact bullying can have on others; but also the circumstances that can sometimes lead to teenagers becoming bullies. Jewel is your average American teenager. She is pretty, intelligent and lives with her older brother Miles, her younger sister Ellie and her parents. Jewel lives in suburbia, drives to school, and takes regular horse riding lessons. She is helpful around the house, and takes responsibility for collecting her sister every day after school and has a strong friendship and respect for her brother. In complete contrast to her happy home life, Jewel is miserable at school. She has been targeted by bullies her entire school career; physically and emotionally. Cascading Petals tells the painful story of her final year of school. We share her fears, her sorrows and her joy has she begins to develop relationships she had only dreamed of. We also see the tragic and widespread impact of bullying. Conversely, the reader also gets an insight from the point of view of the people bullying her, and the possible reasons that contribute to their dreadful treatment of others. The book explores the idea of self-awareness, and developing an inner strength to allow yourself to stand up to others and not become, or remain, a victim. Cascading Petals is an engaging and thought provoking novel. It takes the reader on an emotional journey that bounces back between times of sorrow and joy, just as teenagers experience in real life.
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    Powerful and Memorable

    Cascading Petals” was an excellent novel that captured my "attention from the enticing beginning and never once let it go. The descriptions were good and really make us feel like we are there in the story seeing it unfold through the different characters’ eyes (mainly Jewel and Kaiden, but later we see Lexi) as they navigate the ups and downs of their tumultuous, deeply moving experiences with each other and their friends (and ‘frenemies’). This is more of an emotionally complex, character and issue-driven novel instead of an action-based one, but the chapters are short and fast-paced, despite the younger ‘coming-of-age’ angsty feel, and I truly didn’t want to put it down until I was done. The only problem that I found was that at times I thought the prose to be a bit on the purple side (something that many new writers fall victim to), just so much emphasis on physical descriptions and some filler/fluff… and I did find myself yearning for more heightened tension at times… where I would just HAVE to find out what happens next. But there is no arguing that there is some very important messages and lessons here and told in a way that is relatable and entertaining (for lack of a better word). And some unexpected surprise that keep us on our toes, but a few things were pretty predictable. But I liked the overall story and would love to read more from Ms. Brady. She has a natural gift for creating an original, well thought-out story and developing powerful, memorable characters that touch your heart and soul and speak to you on a deeper level. Recommend for ages 16+.

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