The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Plot and Storyline Quality (2.5 points)

Amanda Cox’s début novel, The Edge of Belonging, has strong characters and a rich, split storyline, with only a few minor errors along the way. In the present, Ivy is a talented young woman who is caught in the web of an emotionally abusive relationship with a man who uses his wealth and position in society as weapons. Following an unexpected episode of physical abuse, Ivy is called home to deal with the sudden death of her beloved grandmother, Pearl. In her hometown, Ivy finds things much the same, expect for one thing. Pearl has left behind a string of clues that promise to lead Ivy to her origin story – who she was before her adoption. In the past, Harvey is a broken, homeless man living in the shadow of his childhood trauma. One day as he goes about his normal routine, Harvey stumbles upon an abandoned baby girl. He decides to care for her as a way to make up for the past. After trying to rob the local church’s supply pantry for single mothers, Harvey gets a job there as a groundskeeper. This step brings Harvey back into contact with people, and he soon finds himself getting in too deep. Will Ivy discover who she is? Will Harvey let Jesus heal his brokenness? To answer these questions, read the book! The Edge of Belonging has a strong, engaging storyline with consistent themes and plot points. The main error to note here is the choppiness in the latter half of the book that unfolds as the author tries to quickly wrap up the main points. This error could have been fixed by splitting the story into a three-part series. The first book could have a first-person dialogue from Harvey, the second could have done the same with Pearl, and the last one could have focused primarily on Ivy, or any other arrangement like this. (spoiler) Additionally, it was a nice idea to explore Ivy’s mother’s backstory, but this wastes valuable time that was needed to deepen the main character’s development. Thus, while the errors are minor, they hold the author back from receiving more than a slightly above average score.

Character Development (3.5 points)

The character development in this novel is well above average. Ivy is a relatable character with a clearly defined personality and consistent traits. Her past, present, and future tie together in a great arc that helps the reader understand who she is and what her character wants. Harvey has a strong arc as well, however, his childhood/adulthood experiences could use a bit more definition, for it is not clear why he has remained in this state of trauma for so long. Pearl is also a great character with a strong arc, but her backstory could use a bit more development as well. Comparatively, each of the characters displays realistic spirituality and views of God. As we mentioned earlier, the biggest error here is the numerous protagonists whose stories cannot be fully explored in one novel. Keeping track of three protagonists in one novel is too much to ask of any author, and though Cox does an admirable job here, the main characters could be just a bit stronger and needed space to grow. Lastly, the minor characters are quite good, and dialogue contains depth and holds the attention. Cox rounds out with a nearly perfect score here.

Creativity & Originality (.5 point)

Finally, the weakest area in this novel is creativity and originality. Cox earns a half point in creativity for her deep and unique characters. However, her plot could use more originality. Despite this, The Edge of Belonging would make a great Christian miniseries or 1-2 season series. The screenwriter would need to deepen all the characters and fill in the plot holes. It might also be nice to add a plot twist or two. On the whole, a great first novel that shows much promise for the future.

Wish List Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points


2 thoughts on “The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

  1. Pingback: 2020 Box Office Revolution Book Awards – Box Office Revolution

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