Mary Batten, author of "Aliens From Earth" reviews Evan Walls.

Jeffrey Blount's novel is a powerful, painful rite de passage through America's racist culture. Set in a rural community in southeastern Virginia during the time when public schools began to integrate and racial tensions ran high, the novel, told in young Walls’ voice, immerses readers in the universal experience of an adolescent struggling to develop their full human potential. But Evan’s is complicated because of his skin color--a black child growing up in a society designed to humiliate, intimidate, and stifle his spirit and ambition. Evan is forced to cope with the conflicts that racism imposes on everyone, with its contradictory messages of love and hate, acceptance and rejection. For black Americans, these conflicts have often been, and still are, matters of life and death.

With honesty and passion, Blount has put Evan Walls in the context of the hates, fears and prejudices of both his black family and community and the white world dominated by the self-serving lie of white supremacy. It’s a tension-filled journey for Evan as he struggles between the two worlds, as black Americans have done for centuries in order to survive. Evan’s dilemma is that he wants more than mere survival. He wants to thrive and this pits him against his family and friends who see him as a sell-out Uncle Tom and whites who see him as an “uppity nigger.”

Blount pulls no punches in depicting the emotional hurt, terror, and physical injury that Evan experiences as he tries to become a man. Along the way, he is ostracized by his family and community and violently attacked, but he finds support and understanding from his strong, dependable great-grandmother, Mama Jennie; Bojack, an adult friend who has suffered his own pain and loss; and Eliza Blizzard, the energetic town political activist who recognizes Evan’s potential and is determined to show him that he can realize his ambition on his own terms. Despite all the racial conflicts, black-white friendships and interracial romance develop, holding out hope that a more enlightened world is possible.

Blount’s intimate, unhurried writing style masterfully creates scenes bursting with true-to-life dialogue and unforgettable characters. This is an important book that holds truths for all Americans, whatever their ethnicity. It will make you cry, it will make you angry, and it will make you cheer Evan Walls’ emancipation as heroic.



Book Review Quotes



“Some authors – and some books can truly make you feel that deeply.” - Keenly

I'd So Rather Be - What a powerful read! I found the summary so intriguing that I knew I had to read this one. Consider how you'd feel if your father died saving your best friend---what would you do? Could you still be friends, knowing that your friend is the reason your father is dead? Adding another layer of complexity is the fact that these girls are in high school, which is a hard-enough time to live through without any traumatic events. 

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: - I thought Hating Heidi Foster was a refreshing change of pace for a young adult book. So many books marketed to teen girls focus on characters who are boy crazy. Hating Heidi Foster is solely about Mae’s struggle to cope with her father’s death and to find a way to forgive her friend. It reminded me of a Jodi Picoult novel in a lot of ways. - One of the things I loved most about this book is that it wasn’t a paranormal romance (I still CANNOT believe that is a bookstore category), it wasn’t about sex or even romance. It’s simply a story about real life. It reminded me of reading Judy Blume a thousand years ago when I was a young girl.  


The Paperback - This book was gut-wrenching and it has taken me so long to write a review because I could feel the impact of the story but couldn't find the words for it. Don't let the length of this title fool you, it is 120 pages of raw emotion. I hate to say this but I read chapter by chapter on the train while traveling to work and I couldn't read any more than that because I found my eyes tearing up every single chapter.  

Sweeps 4 - The story is intense, emotional and thought provoking. Yes, a box of tissues was necessary and you may want to read through it more than once.  

They call me - When reading this book, I felt quite a bit of emotions from sadness, to anger, to guilt. I think being able to feel all of those emotions in this one book is what makes it so great. -  I was not expecting to be so moved while reading Hating Heidi Foster, especially considering that it is a relatively short book. I found myself crying at several points throughout the book, especially at the end. From a mother's point of view, Hating Heidi Foster was even more powerful. I could not imagine what Mae's mother goes through, losing her husband, but also having to help her daughter grieve for her father. - A very indelible and heartbreaking story about loss and forgiveness as Mae goes on a profound journey, leaving readers breathless and wanting more. I was deeply moved by this story and felt the hurt that Mae felt, as she couldn't shake the fact that her father was no longer with her. - This story brought tears to my eyes, for all the characters in the story, for the grief that they all shared and for the ultimate love and forgiveness that these two girls finally gave into. A young adult story but one that can be read by anyone.  

Love at First - I really enjoyed reading it (and needed some tissues while doing so!) and I would recommend this book, especially to those young adult readers out there. 

Book Cover - Hating Heidi Foster is a very emotional read. After losing her father, Mae is of course devastated. The emotional roller coaster that she embarks on is very raw and intense.


IN CONCLUSION: - Having just finished reading 'Hating Heidi Foster' the only fault I find worth mentioning is that such a touching story be considered as meant only for "young adults". I'm a fifty-some year old man, and read almost all the books my (now grown) three children were assigned or chose to read from about the sixth grade through their senior years of high school, and was often bewildered by the focus on action and being 'timely' at the expense of any kind of depth, in either character development or emotional content. But 'Hating Heidi Foster' is exactly the kind of book I was always hoping they'd be assigned -because it offers readers a painful but valuable opportunity to reflect on love, loss, sacrifice, and selfishness, all while enjoying a smoothly flowing writing style and a story that won't let you walk away without thinking about it.  

Game - Hating Heidi Foster is tale of friendship conquering all, but it doesn’t shy away from the most somber of “what if?” stories to get there. With a gripping story of sudden loss, and learning to live again, author Jeffrey Blount delivers an engaging and sorrowful experience while at the same time offering hope for redemption. It’s a quick read, not easily forgotten. -  The unfortunate side is that the majority of the books I read, I wouldn’t recommend to my readers. Hating Heidi Foster is an exception. I loved this book from beginning to end.


Fresh - HATING HEIDI FOSTER is truly a character driven story. The two main girls are exquisitely layered and their personalities expertly crafted. They really do jump right off the page. I felt so deeply connected to them and their issues that I couldn't stand to see the book end. But when it did end - wow, what an amazing and gripping story.  

Sweeps 4 - Hating Heidi Foster is a very endearing and heart wrenching story filled with pain, anger, and the miracle of forgiveness. - Outstanding book & one of the few books I give 5 stars to. Hating Heidi Foster will have a permanent place on my bookshelf unless I find a family perhaps that will benefit from it.

ALMOST SNOW WHITE - I devoured this novel in just one evening. It is a page turner was filled with little unexpected twists and plenty of heart wrenching moments. The brief, powerful insight that Almost Snow White provides into the oppression felt by African Americans in the 1940’s, over 70 years post-slavery, is truly eye-opening.  

Grady Harp, author of War Songs - Virginia born author and television director Jeffrey Blount has written a novel that, while brief, contains so much emotional energy that it cries become a film. Along similar lines as the work of Alice Walker (`The Color Purple) and Sapphire (`Precious') and Maya Angelou ("I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings'), African American Blount takes on issues of racism of the sort that the term Jim Crow conjures. It is beautifully written but devastating in message. - I was drawn in by the story, and wanted more – until almost the end of the story. I was thrown out of the story part way through Chapter 12, angered by a choice Precious made. And, while I am still angered by Precious’s choice, the story itself seems stronger as a consequence. There were no easy choices in the world of this novel, and certainly no choices without consequences.


Cyrus Webb, Host of the radio show, Conversations Book Club - The old saying “To thine own self be true” is one that we might have grown up hearing but it really means nothing unless you are able to live it. In Jeffrey Blount’s book ALMOST SNOW WHITE we are able to meet Precious: a young woman who is sure to identify with readers on many levels, one of the main one being her desire to have the best of the world, even if it means denying a part of herself. Jeffrey Blount showcases the best of his literary skills in ALMOST SNOW WHITE, and readers are better off because of it. 

M.M. Strawberry Reviews - This is a short novel, but it packs quite a punch. I'm no stranger to books that concern racism, but I've never read a story quite like this. 

Readers’ Favorite - A deeply internal and thought driven novel, Almost Snow White succeeds on all levels to be a sort of combination coming of age and self-identity story that brings to light issues faced by a mulatto during the slavery period of the Americas.