Tuesday, April 3, 2018

"No One Ever Asked" by Katie Ganshert

Several days after finishing No One Ever Asked, I'm at a bit of a loss at what to say. This book is deep, impacting, and so important ... so I guess I'll give it a go and hope that things come out as I intend! (Why is it that the best books are the hardest to write reviews for?)

Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district—and in their lives.

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray—the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser—faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones—the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as "this" or "that", when such complexity exists in each person?

No One Ever Asked is the story of three women. Camille is a stay at home mom who seems to have it all together, but in reality her world is falling apart. Jen and her husband adopted a little girl from Liberia ... and then almost immediately moved across the country when he got a new job. Anaya always dreamed of returning to the South Fork district to teach—she's a South Fork grad, and her late father taught in the district for years—but instead, she gets a job in the affluent Crystal Ridge district, the district that is required by law to take in South Fork students when South Fork loses its accreditation. The lives of these women—two white, one black—intertwine when Camille's and Jen's daughters are assigned to Anaya's second grade classroom.

What follows is a thoughtful, heartbreaking look at race relations in the United States told through the experiences of one school district in Missouri. As a white woman living in a predominantly white area of rural America, I've been fairly oblivious to racial tensions. That's not something I'm proud of, and I'm glad that Katie Ganshert, a popular inspirational fiction writer, is taking on the topic in order to reach women like me.

I dare you to read this book and not be moved, not be confronted by some of your own sinful attitudes, not want to learn more and do something. The story is written so well, and I was completely invested in it. And isn't that the power of story? A well-told story compels you think, internalize, and potentially take action.

This is a story that needs to find its way into the hands of so many women like me—because we need to begin to understand, we need to have compassion, and we need to help this world change. 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read the first chapter.
Read my reviews of Ganshert's Life After (5 stars), An October Bride (5 stars), The Perfect Arrangement (5 stars), A Broken Kind of Beautiful (5 stars), and Wildflowers from Winter (5 stars).

Katie Ganshert is the author of seven novels and several works of short fiction. She has won both the Christy and Carol Awards for her writing and awarded the RT Reviews Reviewers Choice for her novel, The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie makes her home in eastern Iowa with her family.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. This sounds like a great book would love to give it a go! *Checking local library

    1. It's a wonderful book, Ashley! If your library doesn't have it, I'd suggest requesting it. My local library is awesome about ordering books patrons request!


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