The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father's periodic violent rages. When the family's barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned baby girl, only hours old. After years of tending to her siblings, sixteen-year-old Becky knows just what a baby needs. This baby needs a mother. With no mother around, Becky decides, at least temporarily, this baby needs her. When Becky hops off the train in a small Georgia town, it's with baby "Georgia" in her arms. When she meets Rosie, an eccentric thrift-shop owner, who comes to value and love Becky as no one ever has, Becky rashly claims the baby as her own. Not everyone in town is as welcoming as Rosie, though. Many suspect Becky and her baby are not what they seem. Among the doubters is a beautiful, reclusive woman with her own terrible loss and a long history with Rosie. As Becky's life becomes entangled with the lives of the people in town, including a handsome boy who suspects Becky is hiding something from her past, she finds her secrets more difficult to keep. Becky should grab the baby and run, but her newfound home and job with Rosie have given Becky the family she's never known. Despite her guilt over leaving her mother alone, she is happy for the first time. But it's a happiness not meant to last. When the truth comes out, Becky has the biggest decision of her life to make. Should she run away again? Should she stay--and fight? Or lie? What does the future hold for Becky and Georgia? With a greatness of heart and a stubborn insistence on hope found in few novels of any genre, Providence proves that home is where you find it, love is an active verb, and family is more than just a word. "When 16-year-old Becky Miller rescues an abandoned newborn, a nontraditional family is born, attracting other warm-hearted women into its folds. Reading Providence is like cozying up with longtime friends in front of a homey fire." -- Sherry Shahan , author of Skin and Bones (Albert Whitman & Co.) "A beautifully written tale about trying to make the right choice when there might not be one." -- Wendy Mass , author of A Mango-Shaped Space (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I wasn't sure I'd be impressed by this novel when I picked it up. The premise sounded good enough, but I had no idea how good the book would actually turn out. It actually had literary merit and made me think of The Help. So, I really liked it.
Writing style: It was clean, and had the feeling that only a Southern writer can entwine with the words. Written from Becky's POV in the first person style, it made me see every decision she made through her own eyes.
Story line: Providence was a story completely devoid of the usual cliches that fill young adult fiction books. By no means was it a romance story, although there was the beginning of one such sweet relationship-in-the-making. Trouble always found Becky, or so we were told. So when an accident left her family's barn in flames, she decided to make a run for it and give her violent father some time to cool off. Little did she know that that would be just the beginning of an adventure she never thought she would go on.
Themes: - The Good Samaritan is almost never met with respect. - Can a girl survive alone in a world that is too prejudiced to help and too black hearted to give a hand? - How do you ever figure out what's right and what's wrong?
Characters: Becky was a brave girl. Left with nothing but her meager savings and a small backpack with her belongings, she should've been gone from home for no more than a couple of days. Finding Baby Girl all alone and abandoned in a dirty train car changed those plans. I certainly can't say that I agreed with Becky's choice to take Baby Girl with her instead of taking her to the police. After all, she could not have known for sure that she'd be able to take care of the little one. They could have starved to death or worse. Still though, I understand that she was afraid that the police would take her back to her father. And she was also afraid that Baby Girl wouldn't fall in good hands. So there she was, (I believe) sixteen years old, with a baby to take care of. I'm not sure how many girls out there would be able to manage. Especially with a child who is not their own.
Rosie was the only person who decided to trust the lonely new girl, even though there was also a baby in the picture. Had it not been for the cheerful old lady, I'm not sure if Becky and little Georgia Rose would have had a chance.
John was the boy-for-everything in this small town. Rosie used him for her garden, for handy work and for whatever else she couldn't do herself. He turned out to be a thoughtful, understanding young man with a kind heart. He was also exceptional, but I guess that's because he wasn't the immature kind of boy we usually see in young adult literature. John knew that Becky had quite a lot on her head and he didn't press her for attention even though he made his interests known. I could do nothing but respect him.
In conclusion: Providence is a book you'd end up loving if you care for novels with good literary merit. It's not just the next cliche romance story. It's a lot more.
Reading Providence was like taking a stroll down a country road. Enjoying the beauty all around. Not knowing what is around the corner, but looking forward to the surprise and the adventure. I felt like I was walking amongst friends, neither in a rush to get ahead nor wanting to stay behind, but simply wanting to enjoy every moment I could with them on our journey. Walking in Becky's shoes felt just like that.
Becky is a sweet, country girl, in incredibly sad circumstances, who not only is without a home, but has stumbled upon an abandoned baby, bonding the two of them instantly. To most this would be a daunting predicament, but to Becky, she simply forges ahead. No matter what happens, Becky is a fighter, determined to make the most of anything that comes her way, not wanting to be a burden on anyone. Her journey, discovering not only new friends, but finding the strength of who she is, and the value of her worth.
Becky also meets some wonderful people, creating her own family along the way. Rosie is a true gem, and won my heart. John is subtle but sweet, and I only wish there was more of him. There are others who will test your perceptions of them, but they all serve a purpose. And the story grows and blooms and culminates into a touching, heartfelt ending, shining with a beautiful message. It's also a nice, clean YA story, which was refreshing.
More dialogue, particularly on Becky's part, would have made this story even better for me. We get a lot of Becky's thoughts, but don't quite get enough of her verbal interactions with people, and for me that limited her personality. It needed stronger showing, less telling. This stilted some of the character interactions, and hindered the minor romance. A bit more to the ending, perhaps an epilogue, would have also been great.
But overall, I enjoyed this sweet story, and its change of pace. And it's refreshing to read a YA book I'm comfortable recommending to my friend's daughter.
Providence is a good story shrouded in monotony. I really wanted to like this book because it is very different than a book I would typically read.
Becky and Rosie were endearing. Georgia helped to give the story substance BUT (and that is one big but) I became tired of reading the every move of the characters.
Becky changes Georgia, cooks dinner, tucks in Rosie, goes to bed, doesn’t sleep, wakes up, thinks about stuff, goes to the store, eats lunch, feeds Georgia, eats dinner, goes to bed and sleeps a little…. And on and on and on again.
I liked the idea of unconditional love and the desire for something better for Georgia.
I liked the small town relationships that people built in the story, with a willingness to help one another out whenever needed. I even liked John, who was understanding and kind to Georgia, Rosie and Lily.
I didn’t like the slooowwww progression of events.
I didn’t like the explanation of everything written in place of the turbulence that could actually occur in this situation.
And finally, I didn’t like that finally a climax seems to climb out from the pages within the last chapters and it ends so abruptly, with little trepidation that it hardly seems important at all.
Thank you Netgalley for allowing me read and review this early!
I think this is a beautiful book with an interesting and unique topic. It's all about a girl growing up earlier than she should have to and learning responsibility. That being said, the ending really doesn't sit well with me.
First off, I love Becky. She is just a 16 year old kid who finds a baby and wants to do right by her. Sure, it's not the legal way but that doesn't make it any less right in my mind. Readers get to see how she grows and develops into this lovely young woman with a baby who she adopted in her own mind. I also liked Rosie. an 88-year-old woman who knows when someone needs help and is willing to grant everyone a chance. The dynamic between these two is wonderful and gives the story the depth it needs.
However, I really disliked the ending to this. I get why it had to be that way, but I still don't think it was right for Lily to adopt Georgia. I think, with a proper investigation and Lily's offer to adopt Becky, Becky should have been able to adopt Georgia, allowing her to grow up in that home. For some reason, it felt like from the beginning Lily was going to adopt the baby and it made me dislike her, like a lot. We grow with Becky as she raises this baby as her own but in the end she is not allowed to be the mother, no matter how much she did for Georgia. It just left a poor taste in my mouth.
Also, I felt like the time was a bit wonky, one minute it would be one day and then all of a sudden a week would pass. I think it could have been done in a better, coherent manner. In addition, the transitions in the middle of chapters could be improved to help the flow.
Overall, I give this 3/5 stars because I love the growth and depth of Becky, she really made the novel. I just wish the ending reflected more of the story as a whole.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Stepping into sixteen year old Becky’s mind and heart is a journey well worth taking! Providence by Lisa Colozza Cocca is a moving tale of a very poor young girl who has spent her entire life under the thumb of an often cruel father, being a surrogate mother to her nine younger siblings. The final straw finally sends Becky running from the suffocation of the only life she has known. Without a plan, she hops aboard a freight train, discovering a small bag that will change her life forever. A newborn infant is bundled into a small duffle, left alone in the world. Without hesitation, Becky takes the baby girl and after a brief search to find her parents, and not knowing what to do, she keeps her. As she wanders, foraging for food for the baby, sleeping anywhere she can find, she comes across Rosie, an eccentric second hand shop owner who knows Becky is hiding something, but slowly enfolds both her and the baby into her life and home. Becky is fiercely protective of the baby and finds an outlet for the love she both longs to give and to receive. Becky’s talents and simple grace, along with her need to see life as beautiful finds this small town opening up to her in a heart-warming way, proving to her that home isn’t necessarily where you were born, but where your heart is filled with love.
Lisa Colozza Cocca has used Becky’s voice and thoughts to tell her story, from the eyes of a teen, who has never had much and is determined to make it in the world. Brilliantly detailing the real responsibilities of caring for an infant, from the constant changing, to the every two hours of feeding, the expenses and exhaustive hours spent being there for a child; Ms. Cocca has laid bare the daily reality of being a parent, and Becky is far beyond her years in patience and the capacity for selflessness. I enjoyed the way she dug in and made it real, not a dreamy, fluffy version of life as a parent. Anyone who would find this boring or repetitive definitely is NOT up for task!
Ms. Cocca writes with a soft hand, gently unfolding this heart-warming and sometimes heart-breaking journey she leads Becky on. This is a story of hope and growth, and futures never dreamed of coming true, a story of the unselfishness of real love. Wonderful writing, magnetic!
I received an ARC edition from Merit Press in exchange for my honest review.
Publication Date: February 18, 2014 Publisher: Merit Press ISBN: 9781440569272 Genre: YA Fiction Number of Pages: 256 Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
*I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A wonderful story idea that just didn’t get there for me. The story is there, but ultimately, the execution of it let it down.
A cast of cardboard characters, with only the main protagonist Becky, and the elderly Rosie coming close to being fully fleshed out. The romantic interest John, is so one-dimensional, that he could have been left out of the story completely and never been missed. I wasn’t even really sure what his role was, other than to show how responsible Becky is becoming by deciding that as attracted to him as she was, she must put Baby Girl and her other responsibilities first.
A lot of “telling” and not enough “showing”. A lot of paragraphs where the first word of each sentence was “I”. I changed Baby Girl’s diaper. I fed her. I put her down in the crib. I rubbed her back till she fell asleep. I made lunch for us. I had a shower. Constantly. Apparently Becky’s father was rather abusive, only we’re not really shown any of that – other than a fairly shocking scene involving a kitten – we’re only told. The majority of backstory we receive about Becky’s family is by her either thinking about what they would have done in a certain situation, or little throwaway lines about how her father would never have bought the school photographs so she always felt rather hard done by when her other classmates were swapping their photos. The oldest of ten children, we never even find out about any of her siblings. One or two are mentioned briefly, but that’s about it. As a teenager who has up and left her entire family, I kept waiting for Becky to talk about at least one sibling she was perhaps close to, but nothing.
As a young girl arriving in a small town with a baby, she receives her fair share of dirty looks and attitude at being a “teenage mother”. I think. Actually, only one person in the entire book really glares at her – the waitress in the local diner. And the mother of a possible friend assumes Becky is babysitting. Ah, that’s about it really. The “possible” friendship with a young girl she meets in the library – Sarah – goes absolutely nowhere. You get the sense Becky and Sarah would end up being BFF’s, but there is so little interaction between them, that you start to wonder why Sarah is even there.
Ultimately, what could have been a lovely coming of age tale of a young girl who starts to receive the only love and friendship she has really known, and discovers herself in caring for a young baby, dissolves into a tale of cardboard cut-out characters, and mediocre writing. I could see the potential for Providence being a sweet, tender tale of facing up to responsibilities and first love…but it just didn’t make it.
4.5 stars Fleeing her father after an incident with the barn, Becky hops a freight train out of town hoping to start a new life. It is what is inside this freight car that will change the course of Becky’s life forever. Inside one of the railcars, placed in a duffle bag tucked in the corner, is an abandoned baby. This responsibility was not on 16 year-old Becky’s list of travels when she jumped onboard but she realizes she cannot leave this newborn baby. Becky decides to care for this baby until she can find its mother. As the train stops in Watson’s Grove, Becky needs to find the necessities for the child. As she walks into the thrift shop owned by Rose, it was like destiny. Rose and Becky hit it off and before Becky walked out the door, she has a job at the thrift shop and most of what she needed for the time being. The people of Watson Grove are typical of most small towns, some spread gossip about the new mother and child and some were excited to see the new faces in town. Becky has to be creative about her past and the baby’s short history as the town folk want answers about their lives while Becky continues to search for answers herself. As Becky settles in, she also thinks about her parents and her siblings on the farm. Her mind is never far from the ranch and wondering if they are also thinking about her. It is small town living with drama, love and secrets. This story will touch your heart.
I fell in love with this book from the first couple pages. As Becky walked off the farm and started on her adventure, I knew the couch was going to be my home for a while. Becky was confused about her role at home before she left. When she finally set off and hit the tracks, she was going to do what she wanted to do….finally but that all changed when she came upon the bag. She never contemplated what to do, I liked that. That said a lot about the character of Becky. She did try a few times to locate the mother but she didn’t question her decision. That theme carried all the way through the book. Watson Grove reminded me of the small town my grandparents lived it. How they would decorate for the holidays, the chatter, the hospitality, the gossip – reading the book took me back to when I was a child and would visit there. The author did an excellent job describing the characters and the setting- oh, the memories. The ending, it was perhaps the best ending possible but for Becky…..I would have been more reluctant and wanted a lawyer. It just was wrapped up a bit too tight for me.
Thank you Net Galley for providing me a free copy to review. This is my own opinion of the book.
*I was provided with a copy of Providence by F+W/Adams Media in exchange for an honest review.
Providence isn’t the kind of book I usually read but the cover art caught my attention and the description drew me in and I found myself having to know what happened.
We follow the story of a teenage girl called Becky, who leaves home and discovers a baby in a train carriage. They arrive in a small town in Georgia, are taken in by a kind shopkeeper and Becky tries to do what’s best for the baby, whose parents don’t seem to be coming forward to claim her.
I found Providence to be a really easy to pick up and heartwarming read. The relationship between Becky and Rosie was probably my favourite part as it really brought the story to life.
Both Rosie and Becky were all round good people and the way Rosie treated two strangers was refreshing. Admittedly I found her overwhelming kindness and trust a little convenient for Becky, but I told the cynic in me to shut up and remember that there really are people like Rosie in the world.
The ending relating to the baby seemed a little obvious perhaps half way through the story and it didn’t really sit with me well when it happened, but let me explain why I’m not annoyed by that.
The result wasn’t the one I wanted but as the book explained it was for the best and I take my uneasiness about the ending as a sign that the author really made me feel for Becky, because that’s how she felt about the solution. Though she might not have liked it, in the end it was the best decision should could make and showed how much she cared.
I had one niggle with Providence; whenever I read about the high street I pictured it being set in the 50s. I’m not sure if that’s because I haven’t experienced a small American town myself or been into a shop like the Second Hand Rose, but I struggled to picture it in the present day.
That aside I really enjoyed Providence and it showed me that I should occasionally leave the cosy arms of the dystopian genre.
If you’re looking for a well written, easy to pick up read about friendship, trust and doing the right thing, then you should give Providence a go.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
When and Where: Small town Georgia in modern times
Protagonist: Becky, age 16
The Story: Hoping to avoid her abusive father until he becomes less enraged, Becky runs away at the advice of her mother and seeks shelter in an empty train car. Becky is stunned to find a tiny baby, perhaps only hours old. Relying on the experience of having cared for several younger siblings, Becky claims the tiny baby as her own and begins an unexpected journey towards a life she could never have expected. In tiny Watson's Grove, Becky becomes both friend and family to Rosie, owner of the Second Hand Rose consignment store. Struggling to provide the best of care to baby Georgia and to take care of herself, Becky hides Georgia's story of abandonment and lives as a teen parent. Despite the town's initially close-minded response to Becky, the townspeople gradually open their hearts to both young mother and child, and soon Becky learns the value of putting trust and faith in humanity.
Reaction: Sweetly and beautifully written, Providence is crafted in the manner of small towns and the people who live in them. The pacing of the tale moves in a similar manner, at times moving quickly, while at other times rambling slowly about, taking the reader on an unexpected journey of a character's growth over a period of time. Author Lisa Colozza Cocca weaves a plot that is reflects the goodness of humanity, and she successfully keeps the reader uncertain of Becky and Georgia's fate up to the final pages; Providence is truly a unique read.
If You Liked... Where the Heart Is, Taking Care of Max, and books that study and reveal human frailties and reality, then Providence is for you.
Teacher Notes: Providence is for thoughtful readers who enjoy stories involving character development. This would also be an excellent book to use for teaching internal dialogue.
When I first started to read Providence, I wasn't sure about it- initially, it seemed like something I wouldn't like. But as I kept reading,I started to get drawn into Becky's world.
I felt for Becky, who had to grow up fast. And finding a newborn on a train, and taking her in, and finding a place that becomes her home...Becky had to grow up even more. I'm glad Georgia had people who cared for her, and I'm glad Becky found the same. Something that didn't set well with me was how Becky's parents didn't seem to care that she was gone and that we don't see them fighting to get Becky back. Still, it fit with why she left and never went back. There is a part of me that wanted to see more of Becky's life with her parents and life at home because I wanted more to see how much her new life contrasted with her old one.
I loved Rosie and how kind she was. She really did give Becky and Georgia a home and they felt very much like a family. I'm not sure how I feel about Lily, especially with how the book ended. On the one hand, I'm glad Becky and Georgia did find someone who cared about them and would take them in...but at the same time, I loved how Becky did what she needed to do in order to take care of Georgia. Becky really did change a lot over the course of the book, and she has a really bright future ahead of her. Still, it did seem like it was the best decision for everyone.
I will say that I kept picturing the book taking place in the 1950's. There's something very old-timey about the town, and it was hard to imagine it taking place in present time. Then again, I've never lived in a small town like the one Becky came across, so for all I know, small towns have that good-ole-day kind of feel.
Let's Rate It: I have a few issues with Providence, but overall, I really liked it! I liked seeing Becky deal with and overcome some of the things she had happen. And I like how welcoming people were to Becky. Providence gets 4 stars.
There is so much good stuff in this novel. Top of the list would have to be the fantastic main character and narrator Becky. I found her voice in this book to be really strong, unique and able to pull me into her world and her story. It felt real to me and that's something that I love in books. I really liked the way she told her story, and led us through her life after finding the baby and taking on the role of a mother. This book was seeped with emotion and great characters who all wove into the story so well. I loved the atmosphere of this book. I could picture the inside of the Second Hand Rose, and as I was reading it I could hear the characters all taking on different voices in my head, because they were all really individual. It's truly a great story, however it did, for me at least, have it's downsides as well. Only a few minor points that didn't stop me really enjoying this novel, but worth noting. In some places I felt that the pacing was a little off, and by this I mean that sometimes I found it a little bit slow and it lost my interest. Not often, but on a couple of occasions this happened. Secondly, and this is where the book lost a few points for me, was that the ending fell a little flat. I felt as if there were some things that weren't resolved fully, and some things I would have liked to of been expanded on. Lastly I would have liked to of seen a little more balance between the drama with Becky and the baby, and the lighter romance aspect. When I read the synopsis for this book, specifically the part about her meeting a boy who suspected she was hiding something in her past, I did think that he'd play a bigger role, but as it was, I would have liked more. Those are the only negative points though, and like I said, I did really enjoy this novel and I'm really pleased I got the chance to read it.
This is one of these books that you just settle down into and it is a great young adult option for fans of Southern Literature. A lot of the typical elements of that genre can be found there--the small town community, someone dealing with hardships in their life, and people taking care of each other (and, oh yeah, it is set in the South...).
Becky is an interesting character. She was never allowed to be a child--she says from a young age, she was in charge of taking care of her 9 (and counting) younger siblings. She did attend school, but that was actually an inconvenience to her parents, who would rather have had her working on her farm.
When Becky runs away and finds an abandoned newborn, she immediately takes on the roll of mother to the child. As she slowly becomes more a part of the life of her new town, she is presented again and again with the opportunity to "act her age," but is more comfortable living beyond her years. In some ways, this is more of a reverse coming of age story, it is about a young woman who learns to be young.
I will say that reading this as an adult is probably a different experience than reading it as a "young adult." Throughout much of this book, I found myself worrying about the such details of the legality of caring for an abandoned child, of Becky working "under the table" for Rosie and others in the town, etc. I think these things probably would not be on the radar of a teenaged reader and, therefore, they would not be be bothered by them.
All in all, this was a satisfying, bittersweet, and heart-warming read for anyone--young adult or otherwise--who is looking for their next book.
I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.
Bubby says: I loved this book. Loved it. Everything about it is just right. It's nice and clean, it's beautifully written and it has the best characters I've read about in a long time. I agonized with Becky over her choices and her horrible family. I rejoiced with her when Rosie took her in and made her a new family. I blushed with her when it became obvious that John had feelings for her. There are not enough good things I can say about Providence.
Sissy says: Protagonist Becky came from such a hard situation and jumped right into what could have been a minefield of disaster. The author could have gone all dark and literati and made a tragedy at every turn. In fact I was anxious about what could happen but Cocca makes the story very happy and readable for the anxiety-stricken reader and leaves just enough bumps in the road to make it real. The real message of Providence is hope. With the right mix of people and in the right circumstances, hope blossoms. I think that's why I loved this so much. The story is unique. The characters are believable. And the takeaway is happiness and hope. 5 bubbles. Read full review at www.bubblebathbooks.net
This was a new type of book for me but I really enjoyed it. This book is nothing but a beautiful story that didn't start out so beautiful.
Becky Miller is such an amazing young girl. She's dealing with her own problems and then happens upon a baby that someone abandoned. At sixteen, Becky decided instead of just dropping her off somewhere else, that she would find ways for her and this beautiful little girl to eat and make a home for her.
Rosie is a nice older woman that is nothing but a beautiful ray of sunlight for these girls. She gives Becky a job and helps her get her life figured out. She becomes the family that they all need.
I loved all the characters in this book and this book was truly refreshing. It is safe for ANY age and is a true eye opener things that can happen these days. Between the judging of people to babies being abandoned it's just sad. Thank you Lisa for this book it was truly a great read. Five stars have been granted :)
Becky just wanted a few moments to herself to read and hide from her father. She did not mean to burn down the family barn. Becky packs her bags and leaves. She hops a train and finds a baby girl left in a duffel bag. Becky knows how to care for a baby thanks to her siblings. The train stops at Watson's Grove, Georgia. Becky figures this is a good place to stop until it is safe to go back home.
Providence is a instant winner! One of the best books of 2014. I would group author, Lisa up there with Jodi Thomas and Robyn Carr. Two of my many authors. Lisa brought she life to the characters in this book. They felt more like family then they did people in a story.
Rosie is an angel. I almost cried during a certain part. I don't want to give it away. I absolutely loved Baby Girl aka Georgia. She stole my heart. Then there is Becky, John, and the rest of the people in Watson's Grove. The only bad part about this book is when I finished the last word and was finished with the book. I did not want it to end. I tried to savor every moment of this book.
I'm writing this review for teens, parents, and teachers. Despite the hard-hitting social issues--the stigma of teen pregnancy, child abuse, runaways, and high school drop-outs--I would classify PROVIDENCE by Lisa Cocca as a "Clean Read." There is nothing graphic, no sex or violence. The main character, Becky, is shy, sweet, caring, good, self-sacrificing. (I loved the character and cried for her.) If anything, PROVIDENCE is a quiet story.
The author is an excellent writer who writes believable, complex, compassionate characters. I recommend this YA novel for readers of all ages.
I loved every page of this novel. Lisa Cocca gives "Providence" the feel of sitting on your porch on a sweltering day sipping on a cold glass of lemonade. This story is beautiful. Providence is obviously the lesson of this book, but it is one I haven't read too often. Becky, the main character, flees from her home and on her way finds an abandoned baby girl. We get to see their first year together and come to realize that there are no such things as accidents when it comes to life. I didn't want this book to end. I would have liked there to be an epilogue.
My opinion on this light novel varied throughout, and so also my final rating. I would’ve originally gone with a four-star rating, but the last twenty-five percent of the story was incredibly frustrating, and I couldn’t wait for it to end. I finally decided to go with a three-star rating for various reasons. Still, I enjoyed Providence, and I’m glad I took a chance on it.
First of all, the entire concept of a seventeen-year-old runaway coincidentally discovering an abandoned days-old infant in a train cart on the exact same day she decides to run away from home, didn’t sit well with me. My disbelief didn’t end there though. As a mother of two boys I find it difficult to get my mind around the idea that said seventeen-year-old runaway could raise an abandoned infant with the same amount of patience, tolerance, and understanding which few first-time mothers possess and which can only be learned through experience. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I just didn’t find it plausible. She claims to have the necessary experience taking responsibility for a newborn as she has helped her mother raise nine of her siblings, yet she makes formula for the baby with cold, unsterilized tap water? And the baby doesn’t get sick nor has any stomach cramps? Sorry dude, but I’m not falling for that. I could believe that Becky loved the baby with her entire heart, but again, there’s no way she could have the patience displayed by her in this story for a child which isn’t hers.
Apparently she kept an eye on the papers to see if anyone reported a missing baby, but why didn’t she go to the police? Understandably she doesn’t want them to find out she ran away from home, and of course I can accept that. But where it got a little ridiculous for me is when Rose, when she is finally told the truth, just accepts it, asks no questions, and doesn’t really want to hear any more about where Becky and the baby comes from. When people in town asks questions about Becky and the baby, you know, the ones who doesn’t blindly accept a young girl with a baby that looks nothing like her and who keeps secrets about her past, Rose shushes them and tells them not to ask any questions. The cherry on the cake for me was how easily Becky’s family accepted that she ran away from home, and then tells her never to come back (in a letter). I understand her father would never ever win the father of the year award, but did her mother really accept her disappearance so easily? Aren’t her siblings missing her? How can anyone not be looking for her? Doesn’t she have any other family or friends? Though all this didn’t really distract me from enjoying the story, these questions were constantly going through my mind.
I liked most of the characters, and I’d love to have someone as accepting as Rosie in my life. Who wouldn’t? She turns a blind eye to practically everything! For an eighty-eight-year-old she’s quite lively and full of energy. That was another thing I didn’t always find plausible, but it was the least of my concerns. I liked her character very much and left it at that. In stark contrast, I liked Becky’s character less and less. By the end I really couldn’t wait to get away from her. The three things that really annoyed me about her character, especially from the middle to the conclusion of the book, were her passiveness, aloofness, and how she pushed the people who wanted to help her or who wanted to be friends, away from her. Take Lydia for instance. Lydia is unbelievably pushy and harsh, and generally not a likeable character. But where I didn’t like her much in the first seventy-five percent of the book, she redeems herself magnificently in the last twenty-five percent or so.
What I did enjoy about Providence, and which made it bearable to read from start to end, was the close bond that formed between Rosie and Becky. Like I said before, Rosie is a phenomenal character and her faith in people is unequaled. It’s hard to believe her granddaughter wants almost nothing to do with her. I also liked how Becky contributed in breathing new life into the small town that became her and baby Georgia’s new home.
The romance between John and Becky can hardly be called that as nothing really happens between them. I couldn’t even see what John would see in her as she’s so closed off. So little interaction happens between them anyway, it’s not a novel I’d recommend to romance junkies. They’ll be severely disappointed, though I wasn’t. The last thing I needed was for that storyline to be dragged out in an already slow book. Luckily I was spared from that.
Providence is a book with which you’ll need to have a lot of patience. It’s a nice story and I liked that it’s different. But that’s all it is. It’s just nice. Most of it comprises of Becky and Rosie’s daily doings. No character growth, as far as I’m concerned, as Becky is already very mature for her age, more so than you’d expect from your average seventeen-year-old. There were no conflict (nothing to get excited about, at least), no twists, no suspense, nothing. Yet, I couldn’t put it down every time I picked it up to continue to the next chapter. For me it was just an okay read, but I definitely would like to see what else this author has to offer.
I received an eARC for review from the publisher via NetGalley.
I wanted to read Providence because I like the premise of her finding the baby, needing to escape home, and finding acceptance and love in the small town where she gets off the train. I have read another book similar to it, except the girl took her little sister because her mom was on drugs I think. I liked the story well enough, it for me just pushes the boundary of realism. I am sure that something like this could happen, but I guess I have a hard time believing that she could make it with a little girl on her own knowing no one, and that her parents wouldn't come looking for her. I understand that they were a farm family and her dad had a temper, but with the mom and 9 other siblings, and her leaving without notice and not being of age, it just breaks my heart that they wouldn't look for her or care that she is gone. The small town feeling was amazing in this one. She happens upon the nicest lady, Rosie who gives her a job and eventually takes her and baby girl Georgia into her home. But some of the other town members, reasonably, ask questions, and it makes Becky uncomfortable to lie, but some she can't escape. The way they described the main street and everyone up in other's business really gave it an authentic ring to it and almost made me think this was a historical fiction, but there is still mentions of texting and other such modern conveniences, so that threw that idea. The bond between Rosie and Becky I think is what made me keep reading this book. Oh and the mentions of John and hints at romance that unfortunately didn't come to fruititon like I would have hoped. But that is another thing, that romance and any thoughts of that were squashed by Becky and she was being responsible in the ways that counted for baby Georgia even if there were many things she was doing wrong. Rosie is so sweet and unasuming but she also pushes Becky to be the best she can be. I didn't feel like Becky had enough personality though, she was kind of just there and leading the story, I didn't get a whole lot of feeling for who she was besides the generic daughter, sister, and caregiver of Georgia. I did like that she was selfless towards Georgia and Rosie, putting their needs first and that she was a hard worker. The most I got from her really was that she liked to read, and when she was decorating the store or making things I almost got that breakthrough of what she loved and who she could become. Though I suppose to be fair, by the ending where she had Rosie vested in her as well as another townsperson the mysterious Lily on her side, she began to think some of the what-ifs, and how could it work. The ending worked for this one, but I guess I just wanted more information about Becky's choices and how it works out. And more of John...
Bottom Line: Good contemporary with secondary characters I loved. Becky and romance just fell a little short.
***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
The plot of this book was very original and not something that I would normally read at all, but since I’ve been trying to read more contemporary, I thought I would give it a try. I enjoyed this book for the most part. It was a quick read and it held my attention the entire time I was reading. However, for me, it ended up being mediocre. It had the potential to be a lot more, and while it was pretty good, it lacked that wow factor I look for in a great book.
The main character, Becky, runs away from home and finds an abandoned baby girl in a train car. She decides to keep the baby for fear of going to the police and having to return to her parents. Becky wanders into a tiny town in Georgia where she meets some nice people and some not so nice people. But she begins to build a life for herself and Baby Girl. I liked Becky. I thought she was caring and selfless, but for some reason I just never really connected to her. Perhaps it was because we had nothing in common (aside from a love for books), but emotionally I just never clicked with her.
The secondary characters were okay as well, but I also never clicked with any of them. I didn’t understand what was going on between Becky and John. They barely spoke and then they just kissed out of the blue. What? Although I did respect the fact that he understood that Becky wasn’t exactly in a place to have a relationship. He gave her plenty of time and space to figure things out. He was definitely a “boy-next-door” type.
I did like the Southern feel to the novel. (Please note I’ve never been to the South so I’m not sure how accurate it is.) The small town judgment Becky received I was able to relate to having gone to high school in a small town. But even with that, we still saw the famous Southern charm. I loved the descriptions of the town’s Main Street. It seemed so quaint and picturesque.
I liked the way it ended and thought that Becky made the right decision. But honestly, this book isn’t one that will stick with me. The lack of connection to any of the characters really killed it for me. Just shows that an enjoyable and interesting plot doesn’t equal an awesome book if your characters are lacking depth. I don’t regret reading this and I think others may really like it. It was an interesting look at being selfless and also learning how to trust and accept others for who they are. Happy reading all!
Becky Miller is on the run. The oldest of ten (with another on the way) in a South Carolina farming family, she's more drudge than daughter. Her father rules with an iron fist and her mother and the rest of her siblings dare not question his authority. Ever. Becky is barely allowed to attend school, and though she excels there, knows that her father sees college as a waste of time. After an unfortunate accident, her mother tells her to leave for a couple of days so her father can cool down. Becky, however, doesn't think he ever will.
Stuffing a few things in her backpack, she hops a freight train. The minute she's aboard, she sees the wiggling bag. Zipping it open, she finds a baby that looks like it is only a few hours old. Is it Providence or dumb luck that has brought them together?
Knowing the baby needs to be fed, Becky disembarks in a tiny town where she meets Mary Rose "Rosie" Perkins, the elderly proprietress of a resale shop called Second Hand Rose. Without a second thought, she offers Becky a job, and, eventually, shelter, no questions asked. Becky knows that she can't hand the baby over to the police without being scrutinized herself. She keeps an eye on the newspaper to see if anyone is looking for her or the baby, now named Georgia. She hates lying to Rosie about herself and the baby, who the town all assumes is hers, but she just can't get sent back.
For the first time, she truly feels loved...and at home. But for how long?
Whadja Think?: This is a sweet story about finding your value. It moves along slowly, with no big climax. It's what I'd call "very clean." Much of the "bad parts" (mean father, someone had a baby out of wedlock, we are to assume) have to be imagined as there is not much detail. It feels like something that would have been published for kids thirty to fifty years ago; small town, farm life, no cell phones, etc. The ending is strange, though; it just...ends. Almost in the middle of a sentence. Does this mean there will be a sequel? There are certainly many issues that were not resolved, so it would be easy to have one.
To Read or Not To Read: If you're in the mood for something low-key, realistic and thoughtful, especially amid the current landscape of dystopian conflicts, torrid romances and magical realms, this is your story.
Providence by Lisa Colozza Cocca was published Match 18, 2014 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Merit Press and the Author.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Ages: 13 and up You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note
Sixteen year old Becky comes from a large farming family with a cold, domineering father. When circumstances make Becky flee, she hopes to make a life for herself away from his influence. What she doesn’t expect is to find a newborn baby abandoned in a boxcar, but having helped raise all her own siblings, Becky knows what to do. She ends up in a small town, pretending Baby Girl is hers, and does her best to care for the baby and herself. She has a tough time until she encounters elderly Rosie, who owns the Secondhand Rose thrift shop. Rosie sees right through Becky, hires her, and soon Becky and the newly christened Georgia are living at Rosie’s house and becoming part of what turns out to be a warm and loving community. Becky is always looking over her shoulder, though. She knows Georgia isn’t hers, but she loves the baby with all her heart. Will she be able to keep her?
I enjoyed this one, even though I usually shy away from teens-with-babies stories—-they’re usually so grim and joyless, trying to convince teens not to have babies. I liked that in this one, the community mostly rallied around and helped Becky, so the story was uplifting but also realistic about Becky’s chances of keeping her secrets and keeping Georgia in our current bureaucratic system. The world was well-built and while I thought there were a few too many characters, the main ones were well-drawn and sympathetic. I didn’t quite believe that the town would credit Becky with returning holiday spirit to the town, though, just on the basis of a few windows displays and some needlework (and just when did a hardworking farm girl, always helping on the land or with babies, learn expert embroidery? I can’t see that her father would find any use for it, so he wouldn’t have allowed her to waste her time with it). That was stretching it a bit. I also found there were many odd caesuras in the story—places where a scene was set up and I thought the author would write the scene, but she just moves on to the next one instead. Felt a bit odd. Overall, though, I really enjoyed it, but am not sure how many middle schoolers would-—I wouldn’t think baby care is something of high interest to many of them, even if they do a lot of it at home. Just not sure.
This book, while not something I normally enjoy reading, caught my attention with the blurb and made me curious as to how this story would resolve. With the desire to find out how everything ended with Becky and the little baby Georgia, I jumped into and was immediately hooked by this novel.
The plot in this book, while slow moving, was something I found very interesting. I liked seeing the way that Becky fought for both her own survival and for Georgia's. She had to make some difficult choices and put the baby's safety and welfare over her own at times and I found her devotion and resolve to do the right thing wonderful.
Becky herself was a character I really liked. She was charming, polite, and caring to all those she came across. Her courtesy and manners immediately made me like her. She was strong and stubborn without being rude was a refreshing change from other YA protagonists I've come across in the past. She really wanted the best for all those around her and did her best to do the right thing. I loved her relationship with Georgia and how she grew so much from having the responsibility of raising a child all by herself. Georgia was a little ray of sunshine in this book and I liked seeing the way she lit up the page and all the other characters when she was around.
My biggest problem with this book was the ending. It nearly completely ruined the book for me. I closed it feeling unsatisfied and, frankly, cheated. There was no resolve and I was left with a bitterness toward more than a few characters and their actions and decisions. All of the lessons and themes this book had been building on were immediately ruined by the ending.
While the majority of the book was full of character growth, southern charm, and heart warming relationships, the ending left more than a little to be desired. Had Providence ended differently, I would have given this book a higher rating.
I received Providence from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley, Lisa Colozza Cocca, and Merit Press.
I really enjoyed Providence, although the ending didn't quite sit right with me. But I won't let that affect my review because Lisa Colozza Cocca had a real challenge with that ending. As the synopsis says, what do you do when there is no clear right answer? And it's not that I totally disliked the ending, it could have been much worse, but I just wasn't completely satisfied.
Becky was an amazing main characters. Of course, it was a HUGE coincidence that there happened to be a baby on the train car she jumped into when she ran away from her home, but coincidences are possible in life so I didn't let that bother me. Becky was amazing with Georgia, or Baby Girl, as she often referred to her. She had taken care of her siblings her whole life, so she knew what to do. She put all of her plans on hold to take care of that baby, and Rosie, a kind older woman who hired her a her second-hand shop when she came in to find a stroller, saw that she needed help and took her in without asking any questions. I loved Rosie. I'm still not sure how I feel about Lily, who lost her family years ago and basically became a recluse.
There were some slow parts of the book where there could have been more happening, but that may have been intentional to show what a slow, easygoing lifestyle people lived in Watson's Grove, the town she ended up in. Either way, I always picked the book back up because I was anxious to see how everything would end.
Providence isn't for everyone, but I would recommend this to readers who enjoy a more mature and serious YA contemporary. Just don't expect a super fast paced story and I think you just might enjoy it!
Providence is the story of Becky, a teenage girl running from a less-than-ideal family situation, and Georgia, the baby girl she finds in a train car.
Overall, I liked Becky as a main character. She's a good girl and always puts the needs of others before herself. However, because of her upbringing, she is a bit judgemental, even though her heart was in the right place for sure. I also felt like sometimes she was just there, taking life as it came, rather than actively working to reach her goals. On the other hand, sometimes I was confused by Becky's actions, especially the way she acted towards Lily. I know Becky had Georgia's best interests at heart, but I'm still not sure why she couldn't trust Lily more. Rosie was a really sweet old lady, although I definitely found some of her actions unrealistic.
There were a few unrealistic things that happened in this book. Becky and Georgia had a real stroke of luck meeting Rosie. If that hadn't happened, I'm sure this would have been a much different, grittier book.
This book has hints of romance, but nothing really comes to fruition in that respect, which is probably pretty realistic, considering Becky's situation. although the boy in question is clearly a damn saint!
I'm not sure how I feel about the ending of this one. I thought it was going to go a certain way, but it didn't. I'm not 100% happy with how it ended, but am having trouble putting my finger on exactly why.
Overall, I did enjoy Providence, especially the first half. It's a fairly quick read and, despite being a bit unrealistic in my opinion, I would recommend it for fans of contemporaries that aren't too gritty.
Also, fair warning to my fellow animal-lovers, there's a certain flash-back scene that made me uncomfortable and very angry. Just be warned.
When sixteen-year-old Becky accidently sets the barn on fire, she decides she has no choice but to run from her father's wrath. She hops a train to anywhere but, in the boxcar, she finds a duffle bag with a newborn baby girl inside. She makes a cursory search for the parents but finds nothing to identify them. Becky had spent most of her young life tending to her nine siblings so caring for the infant is something she is more than willing to undertake. She gets off the train in a small town in Georgia where she hopes to find a job and a place for her and the baby she names after this new state she will call home. She stumbles upon a second-hand store run by Rosie, an old woman with a big heart. Rosie recognizes that Becky and Georgia need a home but, as the relationship develops between them, it becomes clear to her that she needs them as much as they need her.
Providence by author Lisa Colozza Cocca is a beautifully written and heart-warming coming-of-age tale of a girl who leaves home and finds her true family, one that grows from love instead of blood. It is a tale about the meaning of community and the rewards of caring for and about others. In some ways, Providence seems like an old-fashioned tale - there is a hint of romance but no sex or violence, just a group of people who share a common sense of responsibility, respect, and love for those around them. It is more about emotions than actions and, if I had to compare it to other books I have read aimed at a YA audience, the only books that leap to mind are those of LM Montgomery despite the difference in era. I fully enjoyed the quiet beauty and sense of community that permeates Providence and hope it finds the audience it deserves.
3.5 stars. "Providence" is the story of Becky, a young teen trying to create a new life for herself after her family pushes her out. Becky hops a train and finds something that will change her life. When she finds a baby, she realizes that she needs to do everything to take care of the baby as well as herself. Luckily she lands in a friendly town filled with interesting people who have really big hearts. This is a warm tale that reminded me a lot of books like "Where the Heart Is" by Billie Letts.
I enjoyed this story! It starts out a little bit slow but as you get to know the characters and become invested in their story, the story begins to feel like it is going faster and then becomes quite exciting towards the end with the uncertainty surrounding what will happen to the characters. I enjoyed the writing for the most part. I wish that we got to see a little more about motivations of the different characters in the book, especially the main character, Becky, but overall I did enjoy the storytelling in this book.
The characters definitely make the story. I felt so bad for Becky. You want her to find a place that she can call home so badly because her family life was so horrible. I also really liked Rosie who sees right away that Becky and baby Georgia just need love, pure and simple love. She gives them a home and seems to have a sixth sense about giving Becky exactly the kind of loving home that Becky was so lacking.
This book would be perfect for when you are looking for a quaint story with a big heart!
What a delight this was and what a surprise. ProvIdence is anything but the weird/extreme angsty side of young adult stories. It’s an example of good storytelling, an artful weaving of a fine web of characters to create a tale you have to read to the end.
When sixteen-year-old, Becky leaves her home to escape the wrath of her a domineering and sometimes cruel father, the last thing she expects is to find an abandoned baby. Her life has been filled with taking care of her eight—soon to be nine—younger brothers and sisters, so while she has freed herself from daily drudgery, she has immediately taken on even a bigger challenge.
Then she finds sanctuary in a small town. From then on, while there are no explosive scenes, there is a steady tension that underlies the story. Will someone discover that the child isn’t hers? Will her parents come to claim her and take her back to that life of drudgery and no hope? Will she be able to use her newly discovered artistic talents?
I give Lisa Colozza Cocca kudos for her subtle feeding in of Becky’s backstory, for keeping the tension on her thread just right, so it didn’t break or loop the stitch, and for crafting her characters so they are well-rounded and never predictable.