Let me just begin this review by saying that I absolutely love Jessica Webb’s writing. I fell in love with her first book ‘Trigger’, and have eagerly awaited every book since. ‘Shadowboxer’ is a good addition to my Jessica Webb collection.
The story is about Jordan McAddie, a former professional boxer for a brief time who now is working to become a social worker for at risk kids and runs a boxing gym targeted specifically for those kids. Jordan herself was once an at risk child, and the pain of her childhood is intertwined into the story. Her first love, Ali Clarke also enters into the story when the company Ali works for offers to fund Jordan’s gym for a year if Ali can stay and be mentored by Madi. Madi is one of Jordan’s former kids, though she is now out of the children’s social network system because of her age. Jordan and Ali must work together to help the vulnerable kids that Jordan has taken under her wing and to solve the mystery of the secretive underground political group that threatens Jordan’s kids and even Jordan and Allie.
The title of this book is very apt, not because of the boxing, which you actually do not see that much of, but because of the shadow that hangs over the characters and the story itself. Just the fact that most of the book and many of the characters are connected to Child Protective Services is enough to make this a very somber story. The lovely romance that Ms. Webb adds to the story does help to brighten the overall serious and somber feel to the narrative.
Even though this story is fiction, I think there are some real life lessons to be learned from the book, especially about the lives these children have to endure, both in and out of the system. They don’t have easy lives. Ms. Webb has created realistic characters that can give the reader a glimpse into the reality of the lives of those who live on the streets, in group homes, in foster care, or in the not so safe blanket of social services.
I loved the characters. I enjoyed the plotline, and I feel the reader can learn from the story. You should get ‘Shadowboxer’. It is a good read.
I was fortunate to receive an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
You can find ‘Shadowboxer’ at Bold Strokes Books