Occasionally when reading a book, I think about how wonderful it would be if high school reading lists were to include that book in their required reading. The messages in these stories are life-changing, but conveyed in the most simple and stealthiest of ways. Books that have fallen under this category in the past for me are The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Making Faces by Amy Harmon and The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. Before I was even halfway through with STOP! by Alison G. Bailey, I knew that it would be another addition to this list.
STOP! revolves around three college students (Hollis, Risher and Benton) and is difficult to review in terms of the plot because Alison throws in two huge twists and mention of either one of them would be the ultimate spoiler. The book is narrated mostly from the point of view of Hollis, the female lead, but I do feel like I would have had a stronger connection to Benton and would have been found his portion of the storyline to be more impactful had we had more scenes from his point of view.
One of the aspects that is easier to discuss without giving anything away is the story’s emotional content. Alison is masterful in all of her books at capturing the humanity that is found in ugly or difficult situations and STOP! is no exception. Patience, understanding and compassion are always present to counterbalance judgment, despair and hopelessness. You leave the book reminded that underneath our superficial differences, we all bound together by the same bonds and it’s our responsibility to nurture them rather than tear them apart.
This is a book for anyone who has ever struggled for acceptance. For anyone who has ever struggled to accept. For anyone who has held a preconceived idea about another person. For anyone who has ever felt “less than.” For anyone who has struggled. For anyone who has chosen to love when the easier option was to turn their back. For anyone who needs encouraging. For anyone who offers a hand, a word, a hug. For us all.
“But you’re not a one-shot guy. You’re an every minute, of every day, for the rest of my life kind of guy.”
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