Starza Thompson over at Windy City Reviews gave Bend Me, Shape Me a long and marvelous review today. Below are some of my favorite excerpts, but I really hope you will click through to read everything she had to say.
Bend Me Shape Me takes a deep and fascinating look into the world of teen homelessness in Chicago. Through the eyes of Snow Ramirez, Jo Sullivan, and Leonard Goldenhawk, author Debra Borys shepherds the audience on a terrifying journey of homelessness, mental illness, family problems, and murder.
This novel was chock full of nail-biting scenes and page-turning tension, making it very hard to put down. Throughout the book, Borys does an excellent job of painting a realistic picture of homeless youth and the struggle they have with mental illness, family, trust, and more. From the very first page of this novel, the audience is pulled into Snow’s story and her struggle to keep her brother and herself safe.
For me, this book was both entertaining and eye-opening. The plot twists and multiple narrators kept me flipping the page to find out what happened next, while the reality of Snow’s situation made me want to learn more about how I could make a difference in the lives of homeless youth. As someone who loves psychological thrillers and who is a Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters, this book combined my interests in ways I didn’t think possible. I immediately wanted to know more about Snow and her brother and could have easily read a book twice as long on this topic.
Bend Me Shape Me is a chilling and tension-drenched thriller that will enable you to take a long hard look at the plight of the homeless. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers that make you think—once you pick up this book, you will struggle to put it down!
via Windy City Reviews – Book Reviews.
Jeffrey Miller, author of Ice Cream Headache, When a Hard Rain Falls and several other novels, gave Bend Me, Shape Me a warm 5-star review on Amazon.com. Here’s what he had to say:
I would like to echo the sentiments of the other reviewers here regarding how engrossing and riveting this book is. I was immediately drawn into the story by Debra Borys’ deft handling of the drama and the raw, gritty dialogue. She’s got a knack for capturing the futility of life as revealed in the characters struggling with their own demons and hardships. This is some powerful writing.
via Jeffrey Miller, author of Ice Cream Headache
I almost missed this 4-star review of Bend Me, Shape Me. Al is one of Amazon’s top 1000 reviewers and posted the review both on his website and on Amazon.com. Here’s what he had to say:
Although the story of Bend Me, Shape Me is an engrossing thriller and a satisfying read for that reason alone, what I found most interesting was the light it shines on the issues faced by homeless kids. Sure, the book has the normal disclaimers about not being about real people, and I believe that. But prominent in the author’s bio is her experience working with organizations that help such kids. I’ve got to believe the issues, experiences, and difficulties of runaways and throwaways are depicted accurately, even though the specific personalities and characteristics of the kids in the story are made up.
via Big Al’s Books and Pals
While I have been extremely pleased by all the positive reviews Bend Me, Shape Me has received, I have been waiting anxiously for the first unsolicited review to be written by someone who was neither a friend nor a professional reviewer first contacted by me. Someone purely a reader/fan, in other words. Today, it happened.
Not only is Sheri Wilkinson a prolific Amazon reviewer (a Top Reviewer Ranking of 7,354 is nothing to sneeze at!) but her profile states she is from Princeton, IL which I consider my home turf. I spent about fifteen years living twenty minutes away and was just there yesterday at the library getting some writing done. Princeton is also the inspiration for one of the settings in my current WIP, A Bull By The Horns.
Thank you, Sheri!
A nail-biting all night thriller. The characters were likable, I could feel what they were experiencing. I would love to read more in the Street Stories by Debra R. Borys
via Amazon.com: Sheri A. Wilkinson’s review of Bend Me, Shape Me (Street Stories).
I knew from an email Jill at IndieHeart sent me two weeks ago that this review of Bend Me, Shape Me would be a good one. Jill has experience working with troubled teens and so her accolades are high praise indeed. Please click through to read more, including a brief overview of the main characters that you should find interesting.
I found most of the characters in Bend Me, Shape Me to be well drawn. Alley is the perfect picture of a boy with fetal alcohol syndrome. Snow, who has been diagnosed as bipolar (like many traumatized teen girls with legitimate anger) is a strong and compelling character. You will find yourself pulling for her from the beginning.
The author also brings a high degree of craft to the elements that make the story an experience you can see, hear, and smell; she has a talent for both descriptive language and dialogue. The conversations between characters, in particular, ring true. If you want your street people to speak a polite, formal language, look elsewhere. This story is a story of the cold winter streets and abandoned squats of Chicago where survival is difficult and language is colorful. Ms. Borys paints a picture that makes you feel you are there.
via Review of Bend Me, Shape Me by Debra R. Borys | IndieHeart.
Tanja from Bosnia didn’t think Bend Me, Shape Me‘s plot twist related to the government was necessary, but does say that it was logical and the book was nicely done. She also prefaced her review on Jacitamati by admitting crime fiction isn’t really her preferred genre. 3.5 stars from someone who doesn’t usually enjoy suspense novels? I’ll take it!
Being a reader makes you discover different things about yourself. For example, I’m huge fan of tv-crime shows and I watched who knows how many CSI and Criminal Minds episodes but when it comes to suspense or crime books I tend to avoid them. They simply don’t do it for me, but maybe I will discover some book that will change my mind. This one was a nice and interesting read but it didn’t bring that epiphany, nor did I expect it to. It wouldn’t be fair to set my expectations that high.
via Ja čitam, a ti?: Bend Me, Shape Me by Debra R. Borys.
I find it interesting that on the same day I receive a review complimenting how strong the characters are portrayed, I also find another which says the opposite. The Pankhearst Review posted a review on August 14 that I found only because I was bored and did a Google search for “Borys” and “Bend Me, Shape Me.” Despite the fact that the reviewer felt disappointed with the character depth and thought the ending seemed rushed, he did have a few good things to say and ended his commentary with: “”It’s weird reading a novel and being satisfied and disappointed at the same time.”
This is the only 3-star review I’ve ever received, but I find it wasn’t as painful as I thought it might me. You might say I also am “satisfied and disappointed at the same time.”
If you’re looking for a quick, easy read with an intriguing plot and interesting subplot, then I do recommend you pick up a copy of this novel. There are many things to like about Borys’ writing style and content wise Bend Me, Shape Me has a fair amount of meat for you to feast on. With gritty and harsh moments, you’ll be drawn into the story and constantly wondering ‘what’s next’.
via Bend Me, Shape Me | The Pankhearst Review.
I am, Indeed gave Bend Me, Shape Me a 4-star review and had some great things to say, particularly about Snow and Jo as characters.
Snow’s “determination to protect her brother and survive against horrific odds is a testament to her strength.”
“Jo is pretty amazing and the careful nurturing of the budding relationship that she is building with Snow is well-defined and presented with a solidity that feels both possible and realistic.
I hope you will click through to read the whole review, but here is another little taste of the a 4-starry goodness:
There must be something in the air or some odd convergence of planets: I’ve had a group of books that I have read lately that, at least tangentially, deal with characters that are “less than” in society’s eyes. Bend Me, Shape Me is no different. Debra Borys deals with the issue of underground teenaged runaways. Often squatting in abandoned buildings, abused in birth families and targeted for abuse by the predatory denizens of the city, and often with recurrent and severe mental illnesses, this is not a pretty set of circumstances for a quiet afternoon read. That should NOT discourage you, however, because it is a beautifully written, well-presented and completely engaging afternoon’s read that will have you wondering if you can find somewhere to make a difference in this world.
via Bend Me Shape Me by Debra Borys Book Review.
The review for Bend Me, Shape Me is not yet posted at IndieHeart Reviews, but I did receive an email today from their reviewer that got my work week off to a great start. With inspiration like this, how can I not dig deep into the third Street Stories suspense novel?
I finished “Bend Me, Shape Me” on Friday, and I hope to have a review written by next week. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the book. I spent 10 years as a Family therapist specializing primarily with violent teens (and juvenile sexual offenders) in both Phoenix and my current rural Ohio location, and I was so pleased to see your characters so realistically portrayed while still being a suspenseful novel with an interesting storyline.
As you might guess from that, my review will be on the good side!