Hope in Patience


Title:   Hope in Patience

Author:  Beth Fehlbaum

Publisher: Steady On Books, 2010

ISBN: 9780997387124

 About the author: from https://www.amazon.com/BethFehlbaum/e/B001JP9NRQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is a high school English-Language Arts teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading.

Beth is a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School for the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014) and The Patience Trilogy: Courage (1), Hope (2), and Truth (3) (Steady On Books, April 2016).

Beth is a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups.

She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.”

Beth is in-demand as a panelist, having presented/appeared at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, the American Library Association’s annual conference, YALSA, and N.C.T.E./ALAN, and she is also the founder/administrator of UncommonYA, a thirty-member-strong marketing group and website for authors of edgy YA fiction. Beth is a member of The Author’s Guild.

She is a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.

Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.


Ashley Asher is a traumatized teenager who has just recently moved in with David, a father she’s never known and her stepmother, Bev. The fifteen-year-old has been removed from her biological mother’s household by social services, and she must face being without the only family she has ever known. Ashley’s new home is full of love and support, but she is deeply scarred by her past experiences. It will take a lot of time and healing to adjust to her new life in the town of Patience, Texas.

Critical Evaluation:

Ashley has been through more in her 15-year-old life than most of us can imagine.  The irony of this is that Ashley is a hurt, damaged young woman with self-mutilating tendencies. This is the only way she knows to calm herself from the ugliness that she experienced for over half of her young life at the hands of her stepfather, Charlie.

The author throws in painful, disturbing flashbacks of Ashley being raped by her stepfather. The imagery of these flashbacks is scary and horrifying, and as a result of trying to cope, Ashley hides in the closet until day light appears, since after the light comes out, her stepdad won’t come into her room to hurt her. Daytime and nighttime are symbols of good and evil, daytime brings with it a respite from a horrible situation. Nighttime is when the monsters come out.

Ashley’s stepmom Bev is a wonderful step-parent and the dichotomy of Cheryl, Ashley’s biological mom, and Bev couldn’t be more opposite. Cheryl blames Ashley for having an “affair” with Charlie. Her mother blames Ashley for everything. So do her maternal grandparents. In one final push of hope, Ashley rushes to her moms side after Charlie dies in a car accident, but the only thing mom wants to know is if she’s sorry for blaming Charlie.

Ashley is painfully damaged, scratching herself until it bleeds. Slowly, with the help of her family and Dr. Matt, she begins to learn how to cope, love herself, let others love her in a healthy way, and get back to being a teenager again. Overall the tone of the story is one of careful optimism. We know that Ashley can heal with the support of her new family. The question is, does Ashley know this as well?

Fehlbaum has written an authentic and sympathetic character in Ashley. We hope for her recovery, and are not surprised when she lashes out like any 15-year-old would in her situation.  The author writes an emotionally intense and moving story about the power of loving yourself and overcoming life’s obstacles.


Reader’s Annotation: Ashley Asher has been through more in her young 15 years than most people have in a lifetime. Can she heal with the help of her new community in Patience, Texas?

Genre: realistic fiction

Curriculum Ties: n/a

Booktalking Ideas: Ashley’s self-mutilation is a result of the powerlessness that she feels in life. What productive, healing ways might she be able to heal?

Reading Level/Interest Age: 16+

Challenge Issues: sexually explicit, violence

Challenge Resources 

  • Library Selection Policy
  • Rationale explaining why the item was chosen for the collection
  • Active listening skills
  • Awards
  • Reconsideration form (as a last resort)
  • National Council of Teachers of English “Right to Read”
  • Positive and negative reviews: expert, parent, student
  • ALA Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials
  • ALA Bill of Rights on Intellectual Freedom
  • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Why did you pick this for your collection?  

  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: Fiction: 2011
  • Important message for YA readers