Book Review: Finding Erin Campbell by Kathy Cunningham

Finding Erin Campbell
Author: Kathy Cunningham
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genres: Realistic Fiction | Contemporary
Released: May 25th 2015
Review Source: Author

Erin Campbell is lucky – she’s popular, she’s been accepted at Berkeley, she’s got the perfect boyfriend, a great car, parents with plenty of money, and a future that’s going to be even better than her dreams. Lucky, right?

But then one Tuesday afternoon, Erin’s luck runs out. She’s in her car, driving on a deserted country road, and she reads a text from her boyfriend. It’s only a few words, no big deal. What could happen in ten seconds, anyway? But she doesn’t see the boy on the blue bicycle. Not until it’s too late. Not until he’s lying in the road, broken and bleeding, and she’s standing there staring down at him, her cell phone in her hand.

Things get worse when another girl – Macy Wilkes, an outsider at Erin’s school – is charged with the hit-and-run. Macy is black, she doesn’t live in Erin’s upscale neighborhood, and it would be so easy for Erin to just let Macy take the rap. Or would it?

This is a novel about what it means to do the right thing in a world that isn’t always fair. Confessing could cost Erin everything – college, her boyfriend, her parents’ respect . . . even her freedom. But not confessing could cost her even more.

Erin Campbell lost herself on a Tuesday afternoon; finding herself again will mean looking at who she really is. Warts and all. And there’s nothing harder than that.

“The world can fall apart in the time it takes to read a text message.”

Just by reading the prologue, I knew this was going to be one intriguing tale to follow.

It begins with Erin Campbell - smart, friendly, wealthy, Erin. She was saying goodbye to her beloved boyfriend at the front steps of the school and about to pick up some dry cleaning on the way home, and that's when her whole world changed.

She was texting and driving, very out of character for her, when she all-of-a-sudden hit a little boy while going around a curve in the road. At first, she thought she had just dented his blue bike and knocked him over, very quickly she found out that wasn't the case. Before she knew it, she was standing over a little boy with a leg that shouldn't be bent that way and a pool of blood surrounding his head. Then she did the unthinkable... she left him there. When that guilt became too much on that one day, she called 911 on a payphone at a rest stop on the interstate.

Story progresses to her eventually telling her best friend and then trying to move past this crushing guilt. I know it sounds like I should be hating this narrator by now, but the author has such a way with expressing Erin's thoughts that it's hard to be angry at her.

And the way the story is written, you get to see Erin's day-by-day struggles, growth, maturing, and experiences.

This story goes beyond a privileged girl making a grave mistake. It touches on questions of prejudice, racism, economic standings, and even the court system as a whole.

The story builds so steadily and understandably. Some interesting relationships are put into place, too. And there's a twist toward the end that will be just what you need to get you through the last few chapters, though I find the conclusion to drag a bit.

Overall, a great story that leads you to even question your own morality.

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