Friday 22 April 2016

Cassie's Hope by Sue Lloyd (Review)

Cassie's Hope by Sue Lloyd (cover)
I was curious about ‘Cassie’s Hope’, because I have a teen daughter, who is an advocate for animal welfare, and wondered if she might enjoy reading it, and if it might be a book she could use to show the different sides of the story of animal testing. So, I purchased the book with the view of recommending it to her if I liked it.

Although the book is written for teens, I found I was engaged very early, and the story line was well paced. A story on saving animals, especially lab animals, might have been over emotional, but it wasn’t written like that. Through various character viewpoints, it balanced different sides of the issues of animal testing for medicine very well…through a teen with Leukemia, whose medicine had already relied on such testing, but still had horrible side-effects; through the owner of the lab, who tried to do the best by his animals whilst still trying to maintain clinical objectiveness from them; through the protesters, who angrily stand outside the facility, and through the beagle, who is actually being tested for the very next generation of the same drug the teen is using.

I was a bit reluctant to buy the book at first, due to the only previous review on Amazon being a single-star and somewhat scathing, but I was pleasantly surprised that, not only was it engaging, but it was also very easy to read, and at a perfect level for my daughter.

Cassie, a teenager, happens to catch a television report re how animals are treated in a medical testing facility. She falls in love with a beagle, and, when she hears that the animals are put down once their usefulness is over, she is determined to save her. Persuading those around her to support her, she breaks down each barrier as it arises (Think ‘Legally Blonde 2’ :-D ).

Meanwhile, a sweet, romantic element builds through the relationship of the reporter and lab owner. What teen reader doesn’t like delving into issues of love! (I won’t say what happens)  Also, the story sensitively covers some other family issues, for instance, how the father has to work away from home and how each member of the family copes with the leukemia.

A horrible tragedy changes the course of all concerned (this bit was very well written, and I actually got a bit teary). Again, I won’t say what happens, but it wasn’t what I expected.

There were a few things I thought might be improved, for instance, I did wish Cassie’s family weren’t quite so perfect (although it did occur to me that cancer does often cause a family to appreciate each other a lot more) and, although the story flowed nicely from scene to scene, I would’ve liked to see a little more conflict. However, that’s just me. If I was thirty years younger, I think I would enjoy the story just as it is, and have recommended my daughter to read it.

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