The Road to Samsara

Young Adult - Coming of Age
239 Pages
Reviewed on 06/03/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy Young for Readers' Favorite

The year is 1989 and the first Tuesday after Labor Day may seem like any other day but for the pupils at Forestville Elementary School, life is about to get a lot more interesting. Josh Brady looks like any other 12-year-old kid, but he soon shows his classmates that there is more to him than meets the eye. Surely a bunch of young boys who just want to play baseball on a decent playing field aren’t really doing any harm? Darlington Field, the virgin playing field, however, is just the tip of the iceberg for Josh. He has history in town and a score to settle. The new boy is on a mission and his friends have to decide if they should stay out of trouble or help Josh with his plans. Just when the boys think they have a handle on the situation, another new kid turns up and upsets the apple cart. Cinnamon is a firecracker and she is primed to cause trouble.

The Road to Samsara by Ron Sherkin is a compelling tale of adolescence and past lives that intertwine. This is a great story. Josh is such an interesting character and Cinnamon and the boys provide him with the perfect companions. The Road to Samsara is filled with adolescent angst and a thrilling tale of bad guys who need to be defeated. Ron Sherkin is a great storyteller and the book flows beautifully. He draws the reader in and immerses them in the story. I felt the sorrow and joy that the characters felt and the heart-stopping finale to the story had me gripped until the very last page.

Susan Sewell

In the enigmatic YA novel, The Road to Samsara by Ron Sherkin, former lives are influencing two young students in their present situations. Josh has retained all of his memories from every lifetime that he has lived on earth. Cinnamon is confused by memories that are so real that she is having a hard time discerning now and then. When Cinnamon feels the urge to leave her circumstances, she runs away from home. When Josh made his exit on his last sojourn, he thought that he had concluded his business. However, this time around, Josh finds himself at the age of twelve, in the care of his great-aunt in the town he had lived in before. When Josh comes face to face with the man who murdered his father in his previous life, he is confused. After Josh had departed last time, the man should have gone to jail, but instead he has prospered. When Josh and Cinnamon encounter each other in school, they recognize their uncommon and distinct characteristics. Were they sent here to work together? Will they survive Josh's enemies or will they die attempting to remove corruption from the town?

The Road to Samsara by Ron Sherkin is a fascinating YA novel with a mystical undertone. Reincarnation is the underlying theme throughout the story, introducing the difficulties that could accompany the frequent jumping from one lifetime to the next. The fact that the characters could remember their previous lives gave the story an unusual flair. It is interesting to read how Josh and Cinnamon applied the information that they had gleaned from other lifetimes and used it to their advantage in their present one. It is an intriguing story with captivating scenes and likable characters. Readers above the age of twelve will be delighted and entertained with Josh's fast paced antics and his active defiance of things that seem unreasonable to him.