No One Ever Asked (Katie Ganshert) – Review

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

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?

Genre:  Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
Release date:  3 April 2018
Pages:  379
Publisher:  WaterBrook

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iTunes  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong

~ Excerpt ~

The gentleman in the suit spotted her. “You must be…Anaya?”
She stood and shook his hand. “Uh-nigh-uh,” she corrected.
“Right. Anaya. I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s fine,” she said. But even as she said it, her voice sounded stiff. Overly formal. Especially compared to the laughter moments ago. It had nothing to do with the way the man had mispronounced her name and everything to do with the fact that she was here at all. The Crystal Ridge School District administration building.
“Tim Kelly, principal at O’Hare Elementary. Ready to come on back?”
Yes, she was.
She’d been working through a packet of interview questions with Mama for the past two weeks, ever since she got the phone call. With a nod and a shaky breath, Anaya followed Tim Kelly into the conference room, hoping the slick of cold sweat beneath her underarms wouldn’t show against the white silk of her blouse. She straightened her pale-pink pencil skirt—an outfit she would never wear on the job, or anywhere else for that matter, but had splurged on once she started filling out applications.
A woman sat inside, alone at the conference table.
As soon as Anaya walked in, the woman stood to introduce herself. “Cindy Ellis, assistant superintendent here at Crystal Ridge.”
Cindy Ellis, assistance superintendent, had the distinct look of a woman who was once fat but had recently lost a lot of weight and didn’t really look the better for it.
“Would you like some water?” Cindy asked. Not waiting for an answer, she reached for the pitcher at the center of the conference table and poured Anaya a glass, then indicated one of the open seats.
Anaya sat down with a quiet “thank you” and carefully placed her portfolio in front of her.
“Usually, we do interviews for elementary positions with all the principals, but since this is so late in the year and we are interviewing for one specific position, it’s just us.” Cindy set the glass of water to the left of Anaya’s portfolio. “We’re very impressed by the glowing recommendation you received from your cooperating teacher, Kyle Davis. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that you’re already familiar with our district.”
Anaya twisted her fingers in her lap, her acrylic nails so bright pink, they were almost fuchsia. ReShawn did them yesterday in Auntie Trill’s salon while Anaya got braids. ReShawn was Auntie Trill’s oldest but not actually Anaya’s cousin, since Auntie Trill wasn’t technically Anaya’s aunt. She was Mama’s best friend and Anaya’s godmother. Anaya had asked ReShawn for something more subtle—like a French manicure—but ReShawn scoffed.
Don’t let them make you forget who you are.
The advice had annoyed her.
Anaya liked a French manicure as much as she liked fuchsia. And she wasn’t going to forget who she was. Not ever again.

Excerpted from NO ONE EVER ASKED
Copyright © 2018 by Katie Ganshert
Published by WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

~ Review ~

I have no words. Just tears and a swollen heart. I knew this would be an emotional read when I picked it up, but after having heard so many rave reviews I thought I was prepared.

Not even.

This book undid me so many times—sometimes in the little things, but other times in scenes that will stay with me forever.

In the author’s note at the end, Katie Ganshert says, “Story is a powerful medium. It speaks to hearts in ways facts and articles cannot. Through it, we get to live someone else’s experience. We get to put on someone else’s skin and walk a mile in their shoes, which makes it the best possible breeding ground for empathy.” Well, they’d better be sturdy shoes, because you’ll walk a lot further than a mile in this book. And you’ll probably need to stop and have a few quiet sobs along the way—although, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to put the book down while you do. It’s the kind of story that compels you to keep reading. Even when I told myself to put it down (and occasionally managed to follow through), I’d find my thoughts drifting back, then suddenly I would be in the middle of another chapter without even realising I’d picked up the book.

The overarching story is gripping in its own right, but it’s the three point of view characters and the very different perspectives they bring that gives this story maximum impact. All three women are brilliantly drawn—genuine, yet flawed—and through their individual struggles and the way their lives intersect, we’re given a convicting picture of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways we judge others and make assumptions about them and their lives, particularly when there are racial differences involved. And that climax—wow! The prologue gives you a hint of what to expect, but you really have no idea who’s involved until it happens, and that carries a powerful message in itself.

This is an eye-opening read and so well written. You’ll be convicted, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away changed. But whatever else you do, make sure you pick this one up!

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

Katie GanshertKatie Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She’s won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun.


Connect with Katie:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, New Releases, Women's Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to No One Ever Asked (Katie Ganshert) – Review

  1. Toni says:

    Such a powerful read!


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