Book Review Excerpts

Pushing Back:

” . . . I was reminded of J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield in the way that Hartsell captures the unpolished language and native reasoning of the boy. Like Salinger, the author avoids any sentimentality or contrivance. Brilliant writing!”  –  Cheryl P.

“From the first chapter, Pushing Back quickly becomes one of those stories that becomes difficult to put down and impossible to not think about. While it’s a work of fiction, you can feel the ‘real’ in every page.”  – Jaybee


Matching Scars:

“Part of Boone’s appeal is that he’s not perfect. He is, however, perfectly flawed. His human weaknesses and shortcomings remain a part of his psyche, even as he is forced along the path of maturity. This . . .  makes the reader genuinely care about what is happening to him.”  –  Tilmer W.

“Bought this as soon as I finished the first one. Read it in one sitting.”  –  Kathy


Keeping Secrets:

“If you haven’t met Boone yet, shame on you. Jim Hartsell has created a compelling character with all the flaws and failings most experienced in their youth.” – Doug R.



“Very poignant glimpses into the best and worst of human nature, told with spare language, but deep feeling. Nicely done.”    –    Susan K.

” . . . left me touched and sobered and subdued. Powerful and real.”  –  Lyn N.



“The prose has something I’ve seen a lot of authors try for but rarely achieve- absolutely no bulls***. The level of straight up truth telling reminds me a lot of the writing style of Paulo Cuelho’s The Alchemist.”  –  Amazon customer


Father and Sister Radish and the Rose-Colored Glasses:

“A charming parable about including others . . . .  As a former teacher, I wish I had possessed this book when I had a classroom. It gives a gentle moral lesson . . . . A precious find in many ways.”  –  Cindy W


The Box of Toys:

“As we age, adults have many ways to share and make the world a better place. This lovely book tells children where to start.”  –  Phillip K.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.