**I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review**
On Solid Ground was a book that I was very much anticipating. I fell in love with Gracie and Jake (*sigh* oh, Jake) in In Too Deep. It was a difficult story to read at times, but one that I felt needed to be told. It was gritty and emotional, and definitely made me cry ugly tears. But it was also beautiful in the message that it delivered and I was anxious to get my hands on the sequel. The continuation of Gracie's story definitely didn't disappoint.
In the first book, we witness the ugliness of Gracie's abusive relationship with Noah. We see her broken down, torn apart, and completely crushed. In a way, Gracie found her salvation and strength in the arms of Jake. As much as I loved their story and their relationship, I remember thinking that she seemed a bit too dependent on Jake. This turned out to be true. In this book, we get to see Gracie save herself. She learns to depend on herself, love herself, and find a way to heal... herself.
In this book, Gracie and Jake find themselves in different places in their lives. Gracie takes the necessary, though painful, steps to begin her healing and to improve her emotional health. Jake was still too perfect to be true, but I wouldn't have him any other way! He's supportive of Gracie and incredibly understanding. He truly has her best interests at heart-- he's the perfect embodiment of what unconditional love is really about. He gives her the freedom to grow as a person, to heal, to pick herself back up, but he never gives up on her or abandons her.
WHERE CAN I FIND A JAKE OF MY OWN?
A new character in On Solid Ground that I really... really, really... wanted to hate was Calon. Stupid, perfect, wonderful Calon that I couldn't get enough of and, at the same time, really wished would go away. He won me over in the end and was one of my favorite characters by the time I was through. He helped Gracie to heal in a way that was very appropriate for her. He "got" her in a way that no one else really did, and turned out to be an amazing friend. He brought something truly special to the story. I feel like maybe Calon gave us a little glimpse inside the author's head-- more than any of the other characters. It's clear that she's a big fan of music, and can appreciate the power of words. I can definitely relate to that, and I love how it was incorporated into the story.
There were definitely a few surprises in this novel... including a pretty big one that might turn your stomach. But everything is how it should be in the end, and it definitely has a satisfying conclusion. On Solid Ground is full of lovable characters that will stay with you long after the book is through. It's a heartbreaking and emotional story with a very powerful message that is definitely worth a read.
OPEN TO US & CANADA ONLY!
Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.
Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.
The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.
Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.
“Writing is my way of making sense of the world. When I give my characters life on the pages I write, it frees up space in my mind to welcome in new stories that are begging to be told,” says Brownlow.
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