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A Matter of Control

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Five very different people wrestle with the ultimate question -- Who is in control? Martha Richards is a high school English teacher who prides herself on her efficiency in the classroom and her ability to solve problems. Three of Martha’s students – Reba Washington, Alex Kowalski, and Travis Johnson – and Martha’s own son, Danny, find themselves entangled in a web of best Five very different people wrestle with the ultimate question -- Who is in control? Martha Richards is a high school English teacher who prides herself on her efficiency in the classroom and her ability to solve problems. Three of Martha’s students – Reba Washington, Alex Kowalski, and Travis Johnson – and Martha’s own son, Danny, find themselves entangled in a web of best intentions that Martha creates and then tries to control, but her intervention brings unintended consequences for everyone. Excited about starting high school, freshman Reba yearns to be an actress but finds that life seems to be conspiring against her, while sophomore Alex, a star on the football field, has a deep secret that could derail his future. Travis, a junior, believes that his only way out of the ghetto is to control it through position and power but finds that the real turf war is deep within him, and college freshman Danny struggles under the weight of others’ expectations and so creates an escape of his own as a means of minimizing the damage. In A Matter of Control faith is tested and illusions are shattered as each one of the five comes face to face with the truth of who is really in control.


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Five very different people wrestle with the ultimate question -- Who is in control? Martha Richards is a high school English teacher who prides herself on her efficiency in the classroom and her ability to solve problems. Three of Martha’s students – Reba Washington, Alex Kowalski, and Travis Johnson – and Martha’s own son, Danny, find themselves entangled in a web of best Five very different people wrestle with the ultimate question -- Who is in control? Martha Richards is a high school English teacher who prides herself on her efficiency in the classroom and her ability to solve problems. Three of Martha’s students – Reba Washington, Alex Kowalski, and Travis Johnson – and Martha’s own son, Danny, find themselves entangled in a web of best intentions that Martha creates and then tries to control, but her intervention brings unintended consequences for everyone. Excited about starting high school, freshman Reba yearns to be an actress but finds that life seems to be conspiring against her, while sophomore Alex, a star on the football field, has a deep secret that could derail his future. Travis, a junior, believes that his only way out of the ghetto is to control it through position and power but finds that the real turf war is deep within him, and college freshman Danny struggles under the weight of others’ expectations and so creates an escape of his own as a means of minimizing the damage. In A Matter of Control faith is tested and illusions are shattered as each one of the five comes face to face with the truth of who is really in control.

35 review for A Matter of Control

  1. 4 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This book was obviously written by an experienced teacher, familiar with both a student and a teacher's perspective. The dialog is believable, the transition between scenes is smooth, and the Christian world view is refreshing. This would appeal to adolescents (guys and girls) as there is a good balance between football, academics, and family life. As I neared the end of the book I knew a crisis was coming, but the victim and the results suprised me. Get this for your kids!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    What a beautiful story! It had me mad, laughing and crying throughout the entire book. I realize it was meant for a young adult crowd but as a mom I could sympathize with the mothers in this story as well and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to reach out a few times and say "Noooooo! Don't do that! Don't go there!" Loved it! J.E. Solinski definitely writes from her heart. Can't wait until her next book comes out!

  4. 4 out of 5

    M D

    This is a well written book, I wish it was longer! Each character is believable and complex. You are drawn in on page one and stay there to the end. Looking forward to a sequel (?). This is a story for all ages but yes, it is ideal for Jr.HS-HS range. Well done!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This is an amazing book. So complex yet so simple. Brilliant writing. At first I felt a little confused with so many characters popping up but the stories seemed so good I thought I had to find out how this group became intertwined. I'm certainly glad I did continue reading as it proved to be fantastic. Everything from the football superstar's reading disability to the boy you can see so much good in but he feels the need to sell drugs in order to bring in money and appear cool to the gangs. My This is an amazing book. So complex yet so simple. Brilliant writing. At first I felt a little confused with so many characters popping up but the stories seemed so good I thought I had to find out how this group became intertwined. I'm certainly glad I did continue reading as it proved to be fantastic. Everything from the football superstar's reading disability to the boy you can see so much good in but he feels the need to sell drugs in order to bring in money and appear cool to the gangs. My favorite character had to be the sweet girl who had taught several family members to read and desired to become an actress but was given a small role (after deserving to be the star in the school play) just so she could tutor the football player. Streetlife as well as what goes on in an inner-city classroon is all brought out in an interesting and beautiful way. The book deserves the five stars it received from me!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Brown

    This novel about a Detroit high school English teacher and some of her students shows how people want to control their own lives, but usually find out that is not totally possible. I felt this book read like non-fiction, rather than fiction because, I too, had taught high school English for several years, my first assignment being in a tough NYC school. I could understand the teacher and see why each student thought and acted as they did, considering their everyday lives. This is not a literary This novel about a Detroit high school English teacher and some of her students shows how people want to control their own lives, but usually find out that is not totally possible. I felt this book read like non-fiction, rather than fiction because, I too, had taught high school English for several years, my first assignment being in a tough NYC school. I could understand the teacher and see why each student thought and acted as they did, considering their everyday lives. This is not a literary masterpiece, but it is a realistic story that could appeal to teenage readers and adults alike. It also has a mild, but realistic, Christan theme in it. (The Bible is more than just a place to hide drug sales money.) A good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    First may I start by saying I won this book (Christian lit) through a goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed this book and the only reason why I am not giving it a five star rating is because I felt that the ending was a bit rushed. The story focuses on five main characters, a teacher, her son, and three of her students. Through the book you see how they are all connected. You see how they all strive for some sort of control on their lives and how communication would have helped. I just would have liked First may I start by saying I won this book (Christian lit) through a goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed this book and the only reason why I am not giving it a five star rating is because I felt that the ending was a bit rushed. The story focuses on five main characters, a teacher, her son, and three of her students. Through the book you see how they are all connected. You see how they all strive for some sort of control on their lives and how communication would have helped. I just would have liked there to be a few more chapters to really get a feeling of closer.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anneliese Grassi

    This is definitely not a typical feel-good book, but boy did it keep you on your toes, wanting to rush to turn the page to see what happens next. It follows several young people trying to find their way through a rough area and high school, and issues that they are dealing with, and the teacher who tries to make everything better. I really like how it follows different types of kids (backgrounds, families, ages, genders) and the different types of problems that go on in their lives. It is so This is definitely not a typical feel-good book, but boy did it keep you on your toes, wanting to rush to turn the page to see what happens next. It follows several young people trying to find their way through a rough area and high school, and issues that they are dealing with, and the teacher who tries to make everything better. I really like how it follows different types of kids (backgrounds, families, ages, genders) and the different types of problems that go on in their lives. It is so true that you really never know what goes on behind closed doors. This is definitely a good read that I will be sharing with my two teenage daughters to show what not to do and that they have it pretty darn good!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan Burlew

    The basic story was good. Martha is a high school english teacher. She wanted to help several students. Her intentions were good but she overstepped. She makes a mess and learns a lesson. I had a hard time with how each problem worked out. Most were very hard to believe. Things don't happen this way in real life. In the end I was disappointed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Marks

    Great premise, good character development, kind of a scary part which didn't seem to have many consequences....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Mccreary

    An engaging, fast-paced story with a unique and intriguing plot. I especially appreciated the diversity of the characters and their struggles, and the way all their stories intertwined. I think readers of all ages can relate to them, and underclassmen in high school perhaps more than others. All in all, a great book that I very much enjoyed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Already read this book when I found it had a new cover. Beautiful! Goes with the sequel nicely too!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Peyton

  17. 5 out of 5

    Raelene

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Barbarick

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brayden

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Payne

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elena Abersold

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin Bryant

  25. 5 out of 5

    Salexl

  26. 4 out of 5

    J.E. Solinski

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sakuralionheart

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Sheridan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  32. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Verardi Knutson

  33. 5 out of 5

    Susan The Book Dragon Campton

  34. 5 out of 5

    Bill Schlott

  35. 4 out of 5

    Denise Scannell

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