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The Third Way

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Member Reviews

In THE THIRD WAY by Aimee Hoben, Arden Firth, a college student, becomes the spokesperson of a movement in South Dakota to abolish corporations. For Arden, corporations are nothing but predatory: banks have made it impossible for her to get a loan for school and for her grandmother, owner of a small farm, to overcome her debt. Large agricultural firms have no respect for the land. It only makes sense for her to fight against them.

Acting as her legal advisor, Justin Kirish, a mercurial law student, insists that Arden be the voice of the group despite her extreme anxiety around public speaking since she is a native South Dakotan. She struggles to articulate a vision she believes in and that appeals to a wide swath of voters.

South Dakota is one of the twenty-six states that allows ballot initiatives in which citizens can propose laws that are voted on if the organizing group receives enough valid signatures. In 2005, I volunteered for “Arizonans for Humane Farms” to support a ballot initiative to prohibit gestation crates. This book is reminding me of soliciting for signatures (hard!) and helping with the office work. So many signatures were required, it took several months of work and the completed and notarized forms were stored in a secure facility.

THE THIRD WAY includes some excellent and informed themes about the relative power of corporations, the govern, and individuals, and Arden’s journey is inspiring. At times though, I thought the balance between philosophy and narrative fell too heavily on philosophy.

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After losing her college scholarship, Arden Firth—with the help of Justin Kirish, a law student with a mysterious past—becomes the reluctant leader of a movement to ban corporations. South Dakota Ballot Initiative 99 is Arden’s last hope to save her grandmother’s farm from foreclosure; but as the movement grows, shadowy forces conspire to quash it, and Arden sees “99” begin to spiral out of her control.

A novel charting the intersection between idealism, extremism, and forgiveness, fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Margaret Atwood will love The Third Way—the story of a young woman struggling with her own demons while trying to articulate a vision that could change the world.

I really liked this book, especially Arden’s approach to the world and her determination for fighting for something she believes in. This book reminded me that we all have something worth fighting for, and once we find it we should give it our all.

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The Third Way focuses on Arden Firth. Her life changes when she loses her much needed scholarship. Returning home to her grandmother's farm, Arden realizes they may lose the farm. Her grandmother's medical bills are costly - and they cannot cover them.
Her passion ignited, Arden realizes her only hope is South Dakota Ballot Initiative 99 - drawing on her grandmother's own history with activism, Arden works with the community to push the article through. But some mysterious force works against them - with no concern for those who are desperate need for change.
An excellent story focusing on social change, challenges against social reform and the next generation's politics.

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This is a book that reminds you that social change is possible. Something that we all need to remember right about now. Very interesting storyline.

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This was an enjoyable read. The writing was well done. This is a work of fiction but very relatable and relevant for the way the world is today.

Thank you to @berittalksbooks @letstalkbookspromo for having me on the tour and for the #gifted copy for review.

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I was given this book as part of a book tour. I started to read the book and quickly realized it is not for me. The book is very political based with heavy consumerism. This book absolutely has an audience, but it is not me.

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Though good on both counts, THE THIRD WAY is a better novel than it is a political commentary and that was more than enough to keep me happily engaged with this entertaining thriller.

Personally speaking I rarely have time for contemporary politics in fiction. It requires a nuanced discussion that something like THE THIRD WAY (or almost any novel) isn’t equipped to deliver, even though its protagonist ends up as an activist leader hoping to “ban corporations.”

Corporations may be by-and-large evil, but nearly all of them began as a small business with almost no chance of success. For a pie-eyed founder to start with an idea and end up managing a viable company is nothing less than a miracle.

It’s also a miracle for a good book to be written, and that’s just what Aimee Hoben has delivered! As a protagonist Arden Firth is easy to admire.

Just a college student, she didn’t want to be center-ice in the middle of a bruising political brouhaha pitting big money against the people of her beloved South Dakota: fate found her.

Still, her idealism is energizing.

She didn’t expect the young man who got her into the movement to have skeletons in his closet that threaten all their efforts.

Still, her persistence is gratifying.

Mystery, extremism, greed and doggedness in the face of disillusionment: THE THIRD WAY has all the elements that made for an enjoyable novel.

The social issues were knowledgeably written into the story by an obviously bright author; but above all I was made to care about the main character. Call it a miracle.

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ ½
Genre: General Fiction

The Third Way is the story of a college student (Arden Firth) who loses her college scholarship due to college funding cuts that authorities have approved. It will be too difficult for Arden to continue her studies as she is dependent on her grandmother Emma who is not doing well due to her illness. The costs of her treatment are huge and she is about to lose her farm because of it. Along with her friends and with the help of a law student (Justin Kirish), Arden becomes an activist and leads a movement to save her grandmother’s farm.

This was an interesting story to read. It is very relevant for our time. Corporations are getting bigger and bigger and the bigger they get, the greedier they are becoming. It is very unfortunate that people suffer because these big corporations decide (at least indirectly if not directly) the policies and regulations. For example, in this story, the student lost her scholarship because the government cut college funding in order to lower the corporate tax rate! Things like these when happen give you an idea of who is ruling.

The author of this book is a lawyer and one can feel her expertise in her field when reading this book be it the politics, the laws, the policies, and at least the big picture of what is going on. The story is well written and brings to light many issues and loopholes the current policies suffer from. What happens with the main character and her grandmother is just an example of what happens to many other people in the US and various countries around the world. This is a very important book that raises many questions about how the wealth of the country is redirected for the benefit of these big corporations instead of important fields like healthcare and education.

The main character has a strong personality and that is important for this kind of story. In the past, her grandmother marched on the state capitol to keep factory farms out of South Dakota. She got that willpower from her grandmother. And like her grandmother, she also despises corruption in politics. All this made her stronger and a fit candidate to lead the movement. This is not the kind of story that one reads for its entertainment value but more for its impact, relevance, and importance. I liked it.

Many thanks to the publisher She Writes Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader copy of this book.

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I have no interest in politics or rallies, etc., so I took chance on this for the writing and character development. The author writes well and did a nice job of telling the tale in a compelling way. Many literary fiction fans will probably like this one.

I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!

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