Rating: 5/5 stars. Highly recommended!
Published: April 3rd 2018 by WaterBrook
Genre(s): Fiction; Christian Fiction; Contemporary
Pages: 352 (eARC – Kindle)
“Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district–and in their lives.
When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?”
No One Ever Asked was a bit difficult for me to really get into. The main characters take time to cross paths. However, all the details and background before their encounter with each other are absolutely necessary, so I made my peace with it but I wish it could’ve been done in a simpler and shorter way.
The author introduces us to three women; Camille, Jen, and Anaya – all under stress and all undergoing huge changes in their lives. These three women’s lives are pulled together by a school, or more specifically, a classroom. Camille’s daughter, Paige, and Jen’s adopted daughter, Jubilee, are in the class taught by Anaya.
As per blurb, Camille organises 5K runs and is a PTA mom. She’s got a tight group of friends and mixes with the ‘right’ people in the school community, which makes her someone important as well. Katie Ganshert paints a pretty picture surrounding Camille except that her husband of 21 years leaves her, despite the fact that he is morbidly against divorce (and made it clear when he proposed to her).
With Jen & her adopted daughter Jubilee from Liberia, readers get to see the thought and challenging side of motherhood and adoption, enabling us to gain understanding and appreciation of the difficulty of the whole process. Jen and her family have this huge hurdle to go through on top of the stress of moving and putting her daughter through a new school.
Finally, with Anaya being an African-American teacher, readers see all sides and perspectives surrounding the racism issue when it concerns school kids. We see from the eyes of those who are in the receiving end as well as those who are giving it out even without realising that’s what they’re doing. Kids of different coloured skins could go to the same class, same school, receive the same lessons from the same teacher and have absolutely different lives. The coloured have to give it everything they’ve got and more to disprove stereotypes; They could do exactly the same thing as white-skinned people but still come off as the bad guys. Readers get to understand that they don’t have the luxury to stand up for themselves without coming off as a threat. However, at the same time, they have to speak louder in order to be heard. It’s forever a game of tug-o-war where there’s no winning.
I loved the bit about name’s meanings: There is a chapter where Anaya encourages her students to find out the meanings of their names. I thought hard and long when deciding on my own daughter’s name and I wanted it to be beautiful as well as a prayer or a wish, meaning every time I said her name it would be like I’m wishing something good for her. It took me the whole 9 months plus a week for me and hubby to settle down on one.
An aspect I positively appreciated was the incorporation of emails, text messages, tweets, bulletin board notices, and flyers in the book. Not only do they all add to the atmosphere surrounding the lives and community that makes up a school, it actually shows that social media and all these means of communication play a role in distributing information in our lives.
Despite the initial snail-pace that was totally on me, I wholeheartedly loved No One Ever Asked. Katie Ganshert’s writing is powerful, enlightening, and No One Ever Asked is a truly worthwhile piece of fiction that is recording the working progress of humanity concerning the racism affair.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and are based on the uncorrected reader’s proof version.
This book ticks off item(s) from my reading challenges this year!
✅ 19: A book about or involving a sport (2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge).