Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: Hope Defined by Shannon Humphrey

Title: Hope Defined
Author: Shannon Humphrey
Published: March 8th 2013 by Createspace
Paperback (Kindle), 226 pages
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Fantasy mix
Source: Author / Paperback
Reading Level: YA

HOPE - The torture began in sixth grade. Hope should never have told the other kids in Opal Lake that she has weird dreams. Or that these dreams inspire her to invent objects that fly. Now in eighth grade, she’s the outsider nobody wants. Things get worse when Hope takes the top grade in science. She becomes a threat to eighth grade queen Caitlin Crawford and her privileged clique for the school’s highest award, the prestigious Sky Honors. Caitlin preys on Hope’s loneliness and concocts a scheme. As Hope’s life spirals, the dreams won’t stop. Why does the girl in them look like a perfect version of her? 

DINAH - Perfection is the only way of life the Scions know. In Tavos, they exist in peace, traveling through the galaxies, creating planets and manipulating stars. The standard of achievement is nothing less than excellence. Until the hard voices awaken Dinah. Deep punches pierce her. And the desperate eyes pull at her insides. A mysterious force begins to crack the perfect equilibrium of their world. Neither King Aleph nor Dinah’s father gives her the answers she seeks. Who is the withering young female in those horrible visions? What does it mean to… suffer? Dinah is bold enough to pursue her own truth. But is she strong enough to handle Hope’s?

It has taken me some time to do my review for author Shannon Humphrey's novel, Hope Defined. The reason being I really didn't know how to rate the book and how I truly felt about the story. On one hand the story is extremely complex and on the other very emotional and simplistic.  I almost felt like I loved one half of the book but not the other. 

The story is being told in two totally different POV. The first is from a poor African American girl named Hope. Hope is shy, a bit awkward and super smart; one of the brightest kids in her school.  She has a real passion for science and big dreams for her future. For that she is relentlessly teased and bullied. Things have gotten so bad that Hope is often afraid to go to school. Her tormentors, a few mean girls that Hope grew up around call her names like, Sleepy Smart, Ugly Nerd, and Nappy Haired Freak. Hope if often left crying and feeling alone. She finds her happiness, her joy from inventing, and solving science problems.

The second POV is being told by a girl named Dinah. Her story takes place on another planet and another time-line. She has certain powers and can do out-of-this-world things. One thing I found profoundly interesting is that she is able to move is a sort of spirit form. Dinah and her people are to protect her plant and their way of life. Now, I was very uncertain of many things that was going on in her story-line because the way the author wrote it, for me it was difficult to understand and process. Dinah's part of the book was highly complex and the use of rich vocabulary was at times didn't make sense. Many of the "sci-fi" terms the author used/creates was not explained well enough to understand what they were or meant. I was often confused. I was able to get the gist of the story and how Hope fits into it but because of these issues I had I found myself to be wandering off and feeling overwhelmed. 

The reader really does not find out how both of the stories fit together until the very end of the book. There is a lot of information to absorb in order to understand it. 
I would categorized Hope Defined into a HIGH Fantasy/Sci-Fi novel and also realistic Fiction. 

Now I want to go into what I loved about this book and I feel really makes for a great read, and that is HOPE. She is without a doubt one of the best charathers in a book I have read. I felt so many strong emotions while reading her story. The way she was bullied and the things she had to endure totally broke my heart to peices. I was brought to tears many times while reading for the way she was treated but more so I felt a bond with Hope. Even through everything, she remain strong and true to herself. She has always known she was meant to be someone important and unique and to one day change lives around her.  

All in all, I enjoyed HOPE DEFINED. Even with the promlems I meanioned above the book was a fine read. I would have liked to have seen more of Hope's story intertwined with Dinah's. I was a little disappointed that it didn't but for the most part I was entertained. I definitely do recommond author Shannon Humphrey's novel to anyone who loves reading a good Science Fiction novel.

3.5 STARS! I liked it a lot. Would recommend.

About The Author: Shannon Humphrey

Find Shannon @

Shannon Humphrey is a proud Southerner who loves to write and read empowering stories that force anyone with a brain to ask questions. She moved to Los Angeles in 2005 to create unique, adventurous book and movie characters that highlight women and minorities. A former Capitol Hill staffer for women's rights, she is also an attorney who will become President of Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles in September 2014. When she's not working long hours at the office, or writing long hours at coffee shops, she's eating like she'll never see another meal, traveling, taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets, and hunting cool boutiques for fashionable outfits that don't cost an arm and a leg. In her next life, she'll be a rabbi or a yoga instructor.

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