May 28, 2020

#BookReview: Watermark (The Broken Bell Series, #1) by Elise Schiller @eliseschiller1

Synopsis: The oldest child in a troubled Philadelphia family, Angel Ferente struggles to care for her three sisters while pursuing her goal of attending college on a swimming scholarship. She has a problematic relationship with her mother, Pic, who uses alcohol and drugs to self-medicate and at one point lost custody for a year, and an outright hostile relationship with her stepfather, the only father figure in her life. Angel is the center of stability in the household―making sure the younger girls get to school, ensuring that holidays are observed, doing the family’s laundry at her part-time job at a Laundromat, and even taking care of Pic when she is sick or depressed. It’s 1993, the midst of the crack epidemic, and Angel and her sisters are witness to the everyday events of life in a community beset by poverty and drugs: dealers on the corner, shoot-outs that kill bystanders, prostitutes on the job, and more.

Then Angel goes to a team party on New Year’s Eve―and doesn’t come home afterward. In the wake of her disappearance, her teammates, her coach’s church, and her family search the city for her. The result changes their lives forever.


Rating: ★★★★
My Review: The flow of this one was done really well. I was totally invested in the characters and loved their story.  They gave me all the feels and I just loved them all.  The way the story was told was amazing and I wished more authors would use it.  The voices used were true to the story and I just couldn't put it down. 


“A measured, affecting look at a struggling and burdened teenager . . . tight, unembellished prose makes for an easy read and even adds a hint of mystery.” 
Kirkus Reviews

Watermark is a shrewd and unflinching mystery set in some of the less charming parts of Philadelphia. Great characters, broken hearts, and lots of twists make this compelling reading. Elise Schiller makes her mark with this book.”
―Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of V-Wars and Rage

“I found this book to be fascinating and insightful . . . incredibly compelling and a wonderful read. I can highly recommend this story and look forward to the next iteration of the Broken Bell series.” 
Reader’s Favorite (5-star review)

About the Author

Elise Schiller has been writing fiction, memoir, and nonfiction and actively participating in writing groups since adolescence. She has published several short stories and a number of articles and essays. In August of 2019, SparkPress published her memoir, Even If Your Heart Would Listen: Losing My Daughter to Heroin. She is now working on the second book of her Broken Bell series. Schiller also blogs about the opioid epidemic, books, and family history on her website. After a thirty-year career in education and family services in Philadelphia, Schiller retired in 2015 to write full time. She is an active volunteer and served on the Philadelphia Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and disAbility Services and is an active member of the Friends of Safehouse. When not writing, reading, or volunteering, Schiller enjoys visiting museums and historical sites, often with one of her seven grandchildren or various nieces and nephews in tow.

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