Cover Image: The Convincing Hour

The Convincing Hour

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Member Reviews

This was an interesting read. I wish I could say that it stood out to me but it was just a quick read and a little intriguing. Not the best writing like I am used to but it did it's job as a delightful escape from reality for a few hours.
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This was so ridiculously good, I was glued to the book from the first to the last page and the prologue is an absolute wrecking ball! The book was a bit different from what I expected from the premise, I thought it would be more like a thriller about the disappearances of juvenile delinquents and Story’s time in jail, but I guess I misread the blurb, my bad. It turned out to be very psychological/sociological and it was a good surprise. 

This is a coming of age story to the extreme. Why to the extreme? The specific living situation of the main character in this book, Story, is far from normal, so she doesn’t have the “standard” teen struggles and angst, no she has to survive her environment and at the same time try to build a better future. I mostly read romances or books with a romance storyline in it, so I want to point out that there is no romance in this book. The main character has a girlfriend, but this only plays a very minor part in the story. I didn’t miss it at all though.

The book is written in first person, almost entirely from Story’s POV. She’s fifteen and stuck in Lakeview, a town in Michigan that was once thriving due to the car industry, but declined after said industry disappeared, leaving only poverty and high drug and crime rates. Story was raised by her grandmother as her mother is a drug addict. But when her grandmother died two years previous, she started living with her mother in a rundown trailer park. Even though her mother is currently sober, she is not a suitable responsible parent. Story is a sweet kid and very intelligent and her goal is to find a way out, to have a chance at a better future. When she hears about a program that scouts teens with potential in jail and removes them from society to place them in an elite school, she sees this as her chance to get out and decides to commit a crime to be send to jail. 

While I don’t want to say too much about the story, I do want to say that the book focuses mainly on the relation between Story and her mother and the choices Story is confronted with. I thought that especially the personality of her mother was exceptionally well written (even when you only see it from Story’s POV). She is a narcissist and has the IQ level of a genius, which she uses to manipulate people including Story, and she’s not willing to let Story go and make something of herself.

The scouting program is the other side of the story you see. It is led by lottery winner and billionaire Char, who wants to help youth that probably never would get any chances in life, and again I was surprised how well I got these insights with only the POV from Story. Roberts has a background in education and it is clear that she has experience with situations like the one from Story. These situations are heartbreaking and frustrating and there is not always a solution and this complexity is elegantly shown in this book by experiencing it instead of getting preachy.  

This book paints a picture of the bleak parts of society in a gripping coming of age story. It’s sad, frustrating and angsty, but even under the miserable circumstances there are also moments of happiness and hope. Extremely well written and I definitely recommend reading this book! And on that note, can we have a sequel?  

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I've never read Ann Roberts before. But I guess I'll be adding her to my list of preferred authors. I really enjoyed reading this. Yes, I know it's aimed at teens but I think any age would enjoy this.

Basically the story is about Story Black who commits a crime so that she may be selected for an exceptional school. I really liked her. She is exceptional and I found myself hoping she got what she wanted.

It's a great story and I'm routing for a sequel. I would definitely recommend this book. Lessons are to be learned by everyone including the reader.

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Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an arc in exchange for an honest review!
To be completely honest, I didn’t end up finishing this book because I just wasn’t interested in the story. I really didn’t like the writing style— it felt juvenile and not well done— and I didn’t like the characters. Also, the beginning was convoluted and none of the characters were properly introduced. It was unclear and hard to follow along with what was happening. The description of the book sounded interesting, but it didn’t follow through for me.
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Every now and again, if you are lucky, an educator will truly see you and nurture your thirst for knowledge. The Convincing Hour speaks to this truth. Story Black is a brilliant fifteen year old with a narcissistic mother who is both a genius and addicted to meth. Word on the street is that there is a school for exceptional children. It helps you to have  the best education you can now as well as gain an admission to a top tier college or university. The only thing is you cannot apply for it. They will find you at the Lakeview Juvenile Detention Center. Story has no choice but to commit a crime to do the time. 

Ann Roberts uses her background as an educator to create a Shangri-La-esque story. It takes a realistic look at under privileged youth and their dismal chances of reaching their full potential. 

This YA novel can be enjoyed by any age group with lessons to be learned all the way around. Story Black  is a character you easily like and you root for her dreams to come true. Robert’s writing brings you quickly into the story. The first four sentences of the prologue did it for me. 
“ Whap! When I shoved Paige’s scrawny, bulimic body against the gym locker, it felt good. I won’t deny it. Just givin’ her a little taste of Newton’s First Law, the one about goin’ along until you meet a force.”  It is a perfect balance of description, attitude, action and leaving you wanting to know why. Robert’s master class in writing has just begun. 
The prologue is a mini masterpiece unto itself. The writing is purposeful and thoughtful to dramatic effect. The rest of the novel is pure Robert’s at her best.
This is a novel to be read and talked about. It should be on everyone’s must read list for 2021.

 I received a free ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review.
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I received a copy as an advanced reader copy e-book from NetGalley, and was intrigued by the premise of a YA dystopian novel about students who mysteriously disappear from Juvenile detention. I was pleased to see LGBTQ+ references to characters and backstories, but it wasn't necessarily the major focal point of the narrative. The main character, Story Black, is stuck in a rough part of town with a mother who is in and out of rehab for drug abuse and no way to better her circumstances. The premise of the book is that students in her town are disappearing from juvenile detention, and being chosen for an elite school. Hearing this, Story decides to commit a crime and get arrested so she can have the chance to attend the school. I think the storyline has some holes and it wasn't as dystopian as I originally believed it would be. Nevertheless, the parts of the book that were strong were very strong. The mother is very wel-written. Her character came to life on the page. The allusions to ches and the connection between life choices and chess strategies was smart. It was intriguing and thoughtful in some parts. I think teens would like this a lot! #NetGalley
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