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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

West Point Friendship Novel Gives Broader Perspective of Females in the Military

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's the Fall of 2000 and three female basketball players are looking forward to a bright future at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Dani McNalley, a dynamo on the court and in the classroom, takes college by storm, easily breaking any stereotypes her classmates might have about an African-American woman's right to be at the prestigious institution.  Hannah Speer's gentler nature threatens to fold under the pressure of homework, sports practice, and military drills.  With God by her side, however, she knows that nothing is impossible.  An unbeatable athlete at her high school, Avery Adams is finding herself to be a small fish in a big pond.  Sure, she can attract a male (or ten) without the tiniest effort, but can she prove her real worth, on the court and off?  As the trio deals with a demanding coach, exhausting physical and mental strain, as well as the added stress of being female on a mostly-male campus, they come to rely heavily on each other.  They know the unbreakable bond they formed at West Point will be the one thing that sustains them through everything that comes next.

As adulthood creeps in, with jobs, deployments, and relationships getting in the way, the three struggle to stay close.  When tragedy strikes, however, they must come together to lift up one of their own.  Will the strength of their friendship carry them through or will their sorrow and grief tear them even further apart?

Since most of what I hear about West Point and women in the military concerns sexual harassment, I was interested to get a broader perspective through Claire Gibson's debut novel, Beyond the Point.  Although the author did not attend the college, she lived at West Point for a number of years while her father was on its faculty.  She also interviewed dozens of female soldiers about their experiences in order to get an authentic insider's view.  The result is a novel that pays powerful tribute to these brave, determined women who fight prejudice, ridicule, and sexism in order to graduate from military academies and serve their country.  It also riffs on themes like friendship, family, and faith.  Although I didn't feel super connected to any of the women at the core of this novel, I still found their various stories intriguing enough that I read all 490 pages of Beyond the Point without becoming bored.  In the end, I didn't love the novel, but overall, I liked it and felt like it was a valuable read.

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing is coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Beyond the Point from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


Want more opinions on Beyond the Point?  Follow along on the book's blog tour by clicking the links below:

Instagram Features

Tuesday, April 2nd: Instagram: @oddandbookish
Tuesday, April 2nd: Instagram: @simplykelina
Wednesday, April 3rd: Instagram: @giuliland
Wednesday, April 3rd: Instagram: @shelovesthepages
Friday, April 5th: Instagram: @readwithkat
Saturday, April 6th: Instagram: @jessicamap
Sunday, April 7th: Instagram: @basicbsguide
Monday, April 8th: Instagram: @writersdream
TBD: Thursday, April 4th: Instagram: @jennblogsbooks

Review Stops

Tuesday, April 2nd: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, April 4th: Broken Teepee
Monday, April 8th: Jessicamap Reviews
Tuesday, April 9th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Wednesday, April 10th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, April 11th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, April 11th: What Is That Book About
Monday, April 15th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, April 16th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, April 17th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, April 18th: Comfy Reading
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