It is a difficult to determine if Alice Hoffman’s newest novel, Faithful, is a teen novel with an adult theme or an adult novel that feels like a teen read. When the novel begins, the main character, Shelby Richmond, is a typical teen that has just had her life completely upended when tragedy strikes. This is where the teen angst so familiar in this genre takes over. We sit back and feel Shelby’s pain as she struggles to continue to live when she feels there is no reason to. Even though her parents and a few select friends try to help her, she takes up the whole story fighting them.
Let there be no doubt who the protagonist is in this book.
Even as life goes on and she matures into adulthood, all of the characters in Shelby’s life are kept way in the background. As she moves out of her parent’s house and gets her first job, it is all about her. Even her love life is one sided from the readers point of view.
It is not until she begins to heal with the help of stray animals and a co-worker that needs help does the story start to shift into a new adult novel. Just as Shelby begins to care about others, a little more of her inner circle’s characters are revealed. And rather nicely, I might add.
Alice Hoffman’s novels are never easy reads, and this is no exception. But the writing is beautiful and the story line is interesting, so it all works. You might just need a little patience.