‘Allie and Bea’ Make Us Believe in the Power of Friendship [REVIEW]

Catherine Ryan Hyde's ALLIE AND BEA

An unlikely duo, Allie and Bea are destined to become as unforgettable as Thelma and Louise.
(Photo courtesy Lake Union Publishing)

A senior citizen down on her luck. A teenage girl with nowhere else to turn. Two people at opposite ends of life find themselves in the worst situations possible. But out of their dismay, an unlikely friendship is born. Meet Allie and Bea, the two remarkable heroines of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s triumphant new novel.

Catherine Ryan Hyde's ALLIE AND BEA

Lake Union Publishing

Bea isn’t the most sociable person, but she’s always been law abiding and paid her bills on time, living in a tiny mobile home with her cat Phyllis, even as she wondered just how long her money would last. She’s been pinching pennies since her husband’s death, living off the little bit of savings they’d managed to scrape together and her tiny social security check, and so far so good. But when she falls for a phone scam, suddenly everything disappears like a wisp of smoke, and she must figure out what to do. The only logical solution she can come up with is to pack what she can in her beat up old van and drive until the gas runs out.

Fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents have just been arrested for fraud. Her grandparents live in nursing homes, she has no other family to speak of, and neither of her two friends are in a position to take her in. The case worker from Child Protective Services tries to be understanding to Allie’s new dilemma and takes her to a group home instead of to juvenile detention. However, other threats await her there, and soon she is fleeing for her life. That’s when she meets Bea, and their chance encounter will change both of them forever.

Allie and Bea is a novel that could easily be titled, “Bad Things Happen to Good People.” Yet despite all the heartbreak and tragedy the two protagonists face, this is ultimately a book about self-discovery, the kindness of strangers, and the power of friendship. It pits two iron-willed females (at different ends of the age spectrum) against the world, and over time they come to rely on one another in a way neither of them ever thought possible.

Most of all, this is a novel for our time. In a world where politics makes the future of both seniors and at-risk children increasingly uncertain, Allie and Bea forces us to examine the plight of both demographics, how our decisions affect them, and why we need to sit up and pay attention. Yet this story isn’t preachy, and it never loses its heart. In fact, the opposite is true.

This is a novel that is touching, endearing, frightening, and laugh-out-loud funny. It is as though V.C. Andrews® collaborated with Thelma and Louise and they wrote a book together. And I can’t help but wish that Garry Marshall were still with us, because this is the kind of story he could sink his teeth into, and which would undoubtedly delight fans, leaving them smiling.

Whether or not this story every hits theaters, however, I hope it is one that you will pick up and read. Dramatic, thrilling and endlessly entertaining, this is a novel you won’t soon forget. Allie and Bea are two undeniably compelling characters who will live in your heart for many years to come. And who knows? Their story of self-discovery may even inspire you to look at your life from a whole new perspective.


Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 32 published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than 30 countries.

Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch ReviewMichigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly ReviewPloughsharesGlimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. 

Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories. 

Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

Visit her home on the Web at CatherineRyanHyde.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

By Catherine Ryan Hyde
350 pgs. Lake Union Publishing. $14.95

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to ‘Allie and Bea’ Make Us Believe in the Power of Friendship [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Don’t Get Scammed By ‘the IRS’ [VIDEO] | Jathan & Heather

  2. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Dynamic duos make for unforgettable stories. Think Tom and Huck, Thelma and Louise, Rizzoli and Isles, Butch and Sundance. Now there’s a new duo in town, and you’re going to find them equally memorable. Meet Allie and Bea, two unlikely friends at the end of their rope. We promise they are going to win your heart!

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