- Book: Something I am Not
- Author: Cher Gatto
- Genre: YA Fiction
- Release Date: January 25, 2019
A father who never loved him…
A woman who stole his worth…
And a brother he couldn’t protect.
Where does someone run in the face of his deepest shame?
Billy McQueen works hard to keep his life together … and concealed. At seventeen, he dreams of an escape from the barroom, his father’s manipulation, and the advances of his father’s girlfriend. However, on his eighteenth birthday, Billy is introduced to a younger brother he never knew he had. An eight-year-old who is barely capable of navigating the corrupt world of his father’s boxing club.
Now, in order to secure his freedom, Billy must fight for it. But to save his little brother who is next in line for the slave trade … he must die for it.
SOMETHING I AM NOT, formerly titled Billy, won the ACFW Genesis Award for the Contemporary category. It was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.
I would normally not choose to read a novel like Something I am Not because boxing isn’t very interesting to me. I chose to read it, in part, as it deals with overcoming abuse. Billy learns to forgive himself and all the other people who used him.
This is not a book to read if you are looking for a lighthearted escape. However, it is a great book to read if you want to remember that God is in your life.
I enjoyed the realistic details Cher Gatto includes in her writing that make scenes have more impact. It felt like I was there watching the story unfold. Another great aspect to her writing is that there is no profanity in this book. That is very hard to do with the rough characters and situations here but she does it well.
The story got my attention three fourths of the way through. It was Billy’s experience recognizing God’s hand in multiple points of his life that really is my favorite part. The novel ended happily considering all the heartache the main character experienced.
There were too many things to say that would spoil this book so I will finish by just encouraging you to read Something I am Not if reading about overcoming abuse will help you heal.
I received a free advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions are completely my own.
About the Author
Cher Gatto is a native to NJ and lives with her husband (pastor) and five teenagers. Their family spent 10 years in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids (see more about the ranch below) and founded an addictions ministry (R-HUB) back in the states. Cher has a Master’s in Psychology and serves as president of the ACFW NY/NJ chapter. Cher’s debut novel won the Genesis Award in 2016 and the Christian Indie Award for Best YA in 2020. Her new novel, Regent, is scheduled to release this fall, and she has begun a sequel to Something I Am Not.
More from Cher
I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Our family (my husband and I and our five children) lived in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids, at-risk youth, and broken families in impoverished villages surrounding the ranch. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter in the city, and we used the horses to love on the girls there. I say “women’s” shelter, but most were children (13, 14, 15 years old) trying to raise babies of their own. Many of the babies a result of abuse, rape, or incest. Some had been drawn out of trafficking. Their stories tragic and incomprehensible.
About a year after we got on the field, the shelter closed down for a dangerous breach in security. All the girls were sent back to where they came from. We could do nothing. Nothing at all, but watch them go. A few months later, I saw one of the girls at church escorted by her “father.” When our eyes met, the vacancy in hers shattered my heart. I will never forget it. And one day, while I was cleaning a horse corral, I had Billy’s story. Not the whole thing, but a piece of it.
I hid myself away whenever I could for months and wrote furiously. I had no idea how the story would unfold, or even what themes would develop. But three hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. I thought I was writing a fiction novel, but Billy’s journey gave me the key to process and heal from things I saw around me but couldn’t change. Things that broke my heart.
I needed a different ending—a redemption. Billy’s story became an allegory on life. He lives under the wrong “father,” as an orphan, believing the fear and shame that those lies wield. But in finding the right Father, he finds where he truly belong. Billy’s story is about coming home. It’s his story, and it’s ours.
Something I Am Not was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. It won the 2016 Genesis Award for the contemporary category and 2020 Christian Indie Award for best Young Adult fiction.
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Rebecca Tews, July 9
Inklings and notions, July 10
For Him and My Family, July 11
For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, July 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 14
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 15 (Author Interview)
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, July 16
Just the Write Escape, July 17
To celebrate her tour, Cher is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click this link to enter.