Book Review: Blind Turn by Cara Sue Achterberg

About the Book:

Title: Blind Turn

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

Page Length: 319

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Synopsis: In the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident, a mother and daughter must come to terms with the real meaning of forgiveness.

Liz Johnson single-handedly raised an exemplary daughter. Jessica is an honor-student, track star, and all-around good kid. So how could that same teenager be responsible for the death of the high school’s beloved football coach? This is Texas, where high school football ranks right up there with God, so while the legal battle wages, the public deals its own verdict.

Desperate for help, Liz turns to a lawyer whose affection she once rejected and attempts to play nice with her ex-husband. Jessica faces her angry peers and her own demons as she awaits a possible prison sentence for an accident she doesn’t remember. 

LINKS:  Goodreads     |      Amazon

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My Review:

Does one monstrous mistake make you a bad person?

Jess doesn’t remember anything about the night when she accidentally hit and killed the beloved high school football coach while she was supposedly texting and driving. But why won’t the only other witness, Jess’s best friend, talk to her? Why can’t Jess remember? So begins Blind Turn, a story of forgiveness, acceptance, and the bonds that tie people together.

This is a poignant and powerful story that really makes you think about how quickly one’s life can change. Realistic and relatable, it’s told from dual narratives, mother and daughter, which works well with the story and creates well-developed, dynamic characters. This type of narration also shows how much Liz and Jess grow from the start of the book to the end. I found it fascinating to see the story from two different perspectives, and it really shows how one action affects a multitude of people.

We all assume that what we say and do and think means nothing to anyone but ourselves, when in reality it can alter lifetimes, change history, and even snuff out a soul unknowingly. Our lives intertwine in invisible and impossible ways. We take that for granted, or maybe we don’t believe it until we have no choice. Everything we do matters to someone.

Jess deals with the guilt and pain of killing a man, the vilification from the community, and fear of her future. An honor roll student, an athlete, and a popular girl, Jess’s main concern before the accident was going to a school dance. However, the accident changes everything and forces Jess to reexamine her relationships, her priorities, and her overall attitude toward life. Jess grows tremendously from this tragic incident and tries to find meaning and purpose again.

As a mother of a fifteen-year-old, I found Jess’s chaotic emotions and sullen and sometimes rude behavior, which she uses to hide her true feelings, quite believable. The eye rolls, the stomping, the sarcasm, and the general discontent all ring true. Jess struggles to communicate and identify her feelings, and she often lashes out at those closest to her, especially her mother.

Liz is a hard-working single mom who is doing the best she can to raise her daughter. Desperate to help her through the aftermath of the accident, which includes a trial and possible jail time, the helplessness, fear, disbelief, and determination that Liz experiences are so realistic. I love that Liz is fierce in her belief in her daughter, and her love is unconditional. That’s not to say she’s without flaws. Liz definitely makes mistakes, but she learns from them and from the experience. She also faces her own demons and fears as she supports and helps her daughter. I loved her character – a woman who has tried her best to protect her child and raise her with love who is faced with a horrific, unfixable, and unfathomable reality.

There are also several wonderful and unexpected connections that added such depth to the story, especially Jess’s relationships with new friends, a school counselor, and the coach’s wife. Liz’s budding relationship with Kevin is another highlight (and complication) of the story that intrigued me.

I watch you and I want to be better. I want to care. I want to be the kind of man you’ll fall in love with.

This moving story focuses on difficult and complex problems and circumstances, including mental health, grief, feelings of helplessness, societal judgment narrowmindedness, and more. There are many touching moments throughout the book, and though it focuses on a tragic incident, you are left feeling hopeful at the end.

Finally, I love the strong, universal questions presented throughout the story. Should one bad decision define your future? Is forgiveness possible? What is really important in life? Who can you trust? What do you do when your expectations result in disappointment? Does forgiveness require sacrifice?

I devoured this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes realistic fiction with strong messages and interesting characters. Thanks so much to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The writing style. I was captivated and immersed from the first page and read the book in one day.
  • The well-developed characters, especially Jess and Liz.
  • The powerful messages. Forgiveness, acceptance, love, the importance of family, trust, and hope are all skillfully woven throughout the story.

Favorite Lines:

In a small town, people mistake proximity for intimacy.

We’re more than they say we are.

One moment, one stupid decision you don’t think even matters. It becomes a hinge in your life, swinging you in a different direction only you don’t know it at the time and there’s no way to undo it.

Forgiveness is the bigger part of love.


This is a great that I highly recommend to readers who like realistic fiction and family dramas with poignant messages.

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Blind Turn by Cara Sue Achterberg

  1. Fantastic review! I’ve never read anything by Cara Sue Achterberg, but this is definitely going to my TBR shelf ⊂( ´ ▽ ` )⊃

  2. This sounds absolutely amazing. Almost Jodi Piccoult-esque! I’ll put this on my TBR right away.
    As always, wonderful review <3

  3. I like this book so much I have purchased copies for all of my granddaughters. It is not preachy, but a story of unintended consequences and how important small decisions can turn out to be. LOVED it! Thanks for your very positive review.

    1. It is a really interesting read, and I love that it alternates between the two different perspectives. Definitely has some strong messages, but I agree, it doesn’t feel preachy at all. I hope your granddaughters enjoy it. 🙂

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