Book Review: Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

Awakening Foster KellyAwakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen


If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness is just the tip of it. It was only a mistake, but when at the age of five Foster is told “You don’t belong here” the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High School—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what Foster believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere – or with anyone. This reality would continue to suit her just fine, however . . .

Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying; a secret capable of certain ruin. There are two probable outcomes: either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.75 to a solid 4 stars

Before diving into this, I was warned by the author that this was going to be a lengthy book—672 pages to be exact—and I knew from reading the reviews that this had an interesting ending. So halfway through, I was almost sure I knew what I was going to say about this in my review, but the last 10% completely threw me off guard that I had to rethink everything, as well as forget most of my preconceived notions. I just did not see THAT coming. AT ALL!

Now, to be honest, I don’t think I can give justice to the story with my own recount, but I believe Cara Rosalie Olsen sums it up perfectly when she ends Awakening Foster Kelly by saying that this is “not for the logical, certainly not for the unimaginative; it belongs to the dreamers.”

I admit that it took me a while to get settled into the story. It was about 14% in, when things actually started happening, that I finally became comfortable with Ms. Olsen’s kind of storytelling. Her narrative is very descriptive, and she likes to interject back-stories a lot. Some readers may or may not like that, and they might think of it as being too wordy or rambling. I—no offense to the writer or the writing—skimmed through bits and pieces because I tend to do that in just about any book. But I also think that editing out some of it would not have affected the story as a whole. Then again, this matter can be subjective, and I am no editor.

I don’t want you to be great. I don’t want you to dazzle me. I don’t want you to make this about winning. What I want to know is… Can you be saved? And in return, save someone else?

Awakening Foster Kelly is a magical read. I can’t describe it any other way. It’s the kind of book that you simply have to go right into without any expectations because chances are, they are wrong. Though it seems like your typical YA read at first, it ends up to be more than that. It becomes something else entirely.

I can truly appreciate how the author likes to use big words, as in Reader Digest-worthy words. But I do think perhaps that might be a minor problem for others as it can probably disrupt the flow of their reading if they’re not familiar with the definitions. Thank God for iBook’s dictionary feature! 

Also, personally, I have a challenging time believing and empathizing with the feelings of 16 or 17-year-old characters especially when they are acting or thinking beyond their years. I mean, it’s only been about 7 years since I was at that age but I guess I’ve become too much of a realist now, that’s why. But having said that, I do try to accept each situation and not be too unfairly critical about it. Just like how I’ve accepted Foster Kelly‘s quirks, her insecurities and the way she deals with her fear of being rejected all over again, and how Dominic is seemingly wise and mature due to his broken past.

However, I believe that the overall story outweighs the negatives. Foster, with her self-esteem issues, keeps everyone at arm’s length but here comes a self-assured Dominic who plows through her walls. The question is: does he end up saving her or breaking her heart? If you think you know the answer, better think again. Because at around 93%, every obvious conclusion I had just about flew out the window. My heart was beating so fast that I couldn’t think straight. Pure magic, that ending. Cara Rosalie Olsen, you are a magical genius! 

If you’re looking for a different reading experience, one that can make you think and even question things, and if you’re not afraid of longer reads, this one is for you. Awakening Foster Kelly is not only philosophical in essence but also has a significantly literal aspect. 😉 Be warned, this is not for the logical and not the unimaginative.

*This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews


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