Author: Audrey Cuff Ed.D
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing .
When Ashley Brown was five years old, her parents left her in the care of her Grandma, though her mother promised to return for her. At fourteen, Ashley is still living with her grandmother in Highland, a city on the outskirts of Maryville, a place known as the “ghetto.”
Ashley has shadowy memories of her mother taking her to her favorite place, the library. Reading a good book allows Ashley to escape her poverty and crime infested community.
One afternoon after listening to the Mayor’s press conference, Ashley discovers that the Mayor is taking away the community library. In spite of being put on punishment for a week by her Grandma for defending herself from the school bullies, Ashley feels it is worth the risk to sneak out of her apartment to mail a letter she has written to the Mayor about keeping the library open.
Every day homeless people approach her and beg for something to eat or for money. The most frequent requests come from two disheveled individuals Ashley has nicknamed “Orphan Annie” and the “business-man bum.” As if escaping the homeless people isn’t enough, there are a bunch of bullies who harass Ashley. One day, the bullies chase her into an alley. They force her to the ground and Ashley is afraid of what could have happened next. This is one time Ashley wished she listen to her Grandma.
Hurry up, grab her bag,” one of the boys said.
“Leave me alone,” I said back. I glimpsed back over my left shoulder.
Before I took another stride, heavy footsteps sounded behind me. I stepped on the curb with the taste of fear in my mouth; something heavy grasped my right shoulder.
“Gotcha,” he said. He pulled the hood of my sweater which caused my head to jerk back, making it very difficult to breathe.
All in one motion, I watched both of my legs kick out in front of me. I almost floated on air. Luckily my hood cushioned my head, but zilch could prepare me for what happened next. Before I screamed his hand covered my mouth and nose. My legs kicked uncontrollably while he dragged me into a back alley.
“That stupid Mayor. I don’t believe it! She’s shutting down the library. The only library we have in this community and replacing it with some, some business store,” Grandma yelled. She scowled at the TV. “I don’t believe the stupid Mayor. You see what I mean about people in power making decisions that ruin your life, and you have no say about anything.”
“Oh, oh, Grandma, that’s so terrible. The library is the only place I have left that’s positive in the community.”
“Ashley, don’t you get it? They don’t give a hoot about people from our neighborhood. All they care about is making money off of the poor,” she said.
Then a quick flash the Mayor came on the television. Suddenly, my knees felt weak and heavy. I felt like I was ready to collapse.
“Grandma, what is, is the Mayor’s name?” I asked. I struggled not to stumble.
“I’m not for sure. Some person name Baldwin, a Mrs. Baldwin I guess. Oh watch they are showing that evil witch on television right now,” Grandma said. She glared at the television. Grandma was going nuts.
I desperately tried not to break down, Grandma didn’t have a clue that I’d met Mrs. Baldwin, and I wasn’t about to tell her. Luckily, Grandma was going crazy about the Mayor; she didn’t notice that I’m emotionally falling apart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr Audrey Cuff was inspired by her special education students to write her debut novel "City of Thieves". She wanted her students to reach their goals and aspiration regardless of their obstacle or shortcoming in life.Also, she wanted her students to understand how important it is to fight for to better their community.
Dr Cuff received her doctoral degree at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara California.
Also she earned the following certifications in the education arena: Teacher of Psychology, Teacher of Special education,and Supervisor of Education.
I was struck when I first started reading this by how likely this is to be happening. There were realistic conditions and the characters were very believable. Even though this book is really inspirational, it makes you think. What could you do to make this world a better place? This little girl made such a big difference in her community by simply following her heart and protecting one of the things that meant the most to her. By doing so? She changed everyone's life for the better. This book is an excellent read for young teens and adults alike. Everyone can take something away from this book, and encourage everyone who loves this genre to take a look. It is a day brightener and so full of hope!! Fantastic Read!!