Christopher Cole & K.M. Sparks
Kingston Publishing Company (2021)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views Kids (01/2022)
“Rising Together” is the first book in the new ‘Prosperity’ series by Christopher Cole & K.M. Sparks. With themes of friendship, bullying, adoption, abuse, and young love, it’s a coming of age tale that will appeal to all ages.
The story follows Timber (Tim) and Paisley (Haze), two twelve-year-old-soon-to-be teens that have been friends forever. If opposites attract, these two are model representations. Tim is an outgoing lad, steadfastly known for standing up to bullies and protecting the underdogs. Haze is a sweet, shy girl on the receiving end of a bully determined to make her life miserable. Tim helps Haze learn to stand up for herself and Haze helps Tim improve his grades—it’s the perfect friendship, or so it seems. But when Haze discovers Tim is living in an abusive home, she unwittingly instigates a chain of events that could change their relationship forever.
I love the premise for this story. It’s a bittersweet reminder of first love and captures that deep desperation one has while caught up in the midst of “puppy love.” Remember that feeling? Tim and Haze are characters complete with flaws, likeability, and the naivete that stems from experiencing moments and events in life for the first time. While I genuinely liked the characters, there are some identity issues. They sometimes appear younger than their twelve years, but more often than not, they present as being much older, at least at the sixteen-year mark. This is a minor point of contention, as people mature at different rates. It was just something I struggled with at times because there are significant developmental differences between a twelve-year-old and a sixteen-year-old. I also found a few inconsistencies in the storyline and grammatical errors that, if addressed, would take the story from good to great.
Overall, being the first in a series, I found “Rising Together” sets the stage nicely for upcoming books and fans of coming of age tales and adolescent love will enjoy “Rising Together” by Christopher Cole & K.M. Sparks.