No Fences in Alaska


Young Adult - Coming of Age
381 Pages
Reviewed on 05/31/2019
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A rebellious teenage girl leaves her Texas home to live with her ailing grandfather in the rural mountains of Alaska in the thrilling YA novel, No Fences in Alaska by Glen Sobey. When her principal father has her expelled from his school for something she isn't guilty of, sixteen-year-old Harper Lyons goes on the defensive. Living in a tightly structured home environment, Harper looks forward to the nights when she can bask in a drug-hazed sexual encounter with her boyfriend. However, when Harper's parents find out about her secret rendezvous with her boyfriend, they clamp down even harder on her personal boundaries. Things escalate when Harper realizes she is pregnant and her boyfriend wants nothing do with her. Harper's problems have now reached a critical stage. Too young to have an abortion without parental consent, Harper doesn't know where to turn for help, until she remembers her estranged grandfather who is living in Alaska. Wanting to escape her miserable family life and at the same time rid herself of her baby, Harper blackmails her parents into paying for her airfare. But will Alaska be the haven Harper is expecting? Can she escape the consequences of her misdeeds?

No Fences in Alaska by Glen Sobey is a stunning literary piece of work and a brilliant YA novel realistically portraying the trials of a dysfunctional family. The raw and untamed wilderness of Alaska is a beautiful backdrop and perfectly sets the mood for the story. I was enamored with the setting and impressed with how it perceptively symbolizes the ultimate expression of freedom and living life in the extreme. With the possibility of danger hidden within the deceptive beauty, the imagery mirrors the reality of living life on the edge. I loved Cooper's character and was inspired by his philosophy. His premise embraces unconditional love despite circumstances and actions, encouraging us to consider extending beyond our ego and accepting others' unwise decisions without faulting them. It is a profound and thought-provoking concept. Filled with love, romance, danger, rebellion, betrayal, and redemption, this exciting and stirring story will thrill everyone over the age of sixteen who likes strong characters who push their limits and face the odds.

Amanda Rofe

No Fences in Alaska by Glen Sobey is a novel for young adults. Harper Lyons is a 16-year-old high school student struggling with a secret boyfriend and oppressive parents. She parties, takes drugs and has sex far too early. Her life begins to spiral out of control. After discovering she is pregnant, she decides to flee to Alaska and throw herself on the mercy of her grandfather, Cooper Lyons. Unfortunately, Cooper has troubles of his own. He has recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He is divorced and estranged from his son, Harper's father. With only his animals for company, he has lived alone in rural Alaska for years. When Harper calls, he welcomes renewed contact with his family and hopes he can help the teenager.

I really enjoyed everything about this book including the beautiful Alaskan setting. The characters were wonderful, particularly Harper and Cooper, who complemented each other perfectly. Their shared interest in writing and music was inspiring. I wanted to be a part of their family and I cried more than once while I read their story! No Fences in Alaska dealt with very difficult subjects fearlessly and courageously. It laid bare the best and the worst of family life. The dialogue was sharp and the story line gritty. However, it was also incredibly insightful and poignant. Glen Sobey writes intuitively and from the heart. This is a feel-good book with a moral story that cannot fail to touch the hearts of everyone who reads it. A great novel for teenagers and adults alike.

K.C. Finn

No Fences in Alaska by author Glen Sobey is a coming of age tale about a young woman. At sixteen, Harper Lyons has had more life experience than many adults, and almost all of it has been bad. With death, tragedy and drugs surrounding her family, Harper has gone down a very bad road and fallen in love with a drug dealer. When she falls pregnant after being expelled from private school by her own father, Harper knows that sticking around in her normal life isn’t going to provide the help she needs. She turns to Cooper, her grandfather, in the hope that he can save her, but Cooper has the impending threat of dementia to deal with. In this story of struggle and togetherness, readers wonder who will make it out all right in the end.

This is very much a story of redemption for two flawed souls, and Glen Sobey creates them with such emotion that you can’t help but root for them. Both of them have had very damaging life experiences which go some way to explain the bad decisions they’ve made in life so far, and seeing Cooper’s renewed purpose when he tries to help Harper is really heartwarming. The family drama unfolding in the backstory was really interesting, and the reality of the drama set against the backdrop of beautiful rural Alaska really helped build the togetherness of these two lost souls. Overall, No Fences in Alaska is a beautiful coming of age tale that encapsulates all realities in life.

Grant Leishman

No Fences in Alaska by Glen Sobey is a classic coming-of-age novel that traces a young, wild-child from her shenanigans in San Antonio, Texas to the wild great outdoors of the Alaskan hinterland. Harper Lyons is a typical sixteen-year-old rebellious child. Feeling rejected by her God-fearing, strict parents, Harper set out from the age of twelve to show them there was nothing they could do to stop her rebellious nature. Expelled from her father’s strict Christian school, Harper begins a wild ride of drugs, alcohol, sex, and throwing herself at any good-looking male in the hope of finding the love she so desperately craves from her parents but seems unable to find. When Harper discovers she is pregnant and the baby’s father wants nothing to do with her anymore, she realizes an abortion is the only hope for her. Texas, however, has strict abortion laws that require parental consent but Harper is too terrified to even tell her parents she is pregnant, let alone ask for an abortion. Discovering Alaska has no parental consent rules for abortions, she decided to contact her grandfather, Cooper, who has had no contact with the family since Harper was six, to try to wheedle a way into getting sent to Alaska to be with him. Cooper, who is suffering his own difficult trials, is thrilled with the idea of seeing his family again and so begins a voyage of discovery for both grandfather and granddaughter.

This is the second Glen Sobey book I have read and No Fences in Alaska greatly fulfilled the promise I saw in this author’s first work. This story is tough, uncompromising and, at times, harsh but it is told with such love and compassion that the characters were easy to identify with. I love the author’s conversational writing style and his willingness to confront teenage issues head on that we so often sweep under the table. Harper was a character that you loved to get angry with. It was so easy, as a reader, to identify with her dad Greg’s anger and frustration at her behavior. Sobey quickly showed us that underneath all the teenage rebellion and lashing out was a young woman whose heart was crying out for love, for comfort and just generally for a family. This story will pluck at your emotional heartstrings and on more than one occasion you will find your eyes watering as you become intimately involved in the real-life, everyday struggles these characters are dealing with. One of the best parts of being a professional editorial reviewer is the opportunity to watch writers grow and expand their abilities as they stretch their literary boundaries. I definitely see that in Sobey’s second book and it is one of my favorite reads of the year. I look forward to more from this incredibly talented author. This is definitely a book that every teenager and every parent could benefit from reading and I recommend it most highly.