Fifteen-year-old loner Lexi Vogan has had enough. Four foster families in two years would be enough to make anybody run away! Alone in the world, she flees to Jacksonville where a group of runaway teens live in abandoned tunnels below the city. It seems like the perfect place for a forgotten face.
Liz Swavier, thirty-six, became a widow two years ago when her husband succumbed to cancer, but she’s managing just fine. At least, that’s what she tells herself. Working long hours as a doctor in the ER, Liz’s friends and family grow concerned that she’s hurling herself into work to number her grief.
Then, on a typical Friday afternoon, an appointment with divine intervention causes these two very different lives to collide, beginning a journey towards restoration that only an all-knowing, loving God could weave together.
The Lion Cubs gives us a bird’s eye view of the horrors that street kids live through. Fifteen-year-old, Lexi has lost her both her parents, been shuffled through four foster homes in two short years and is a runaway.
Living in Tampa at Everidge after being asked to leave her fourth foster home, Lexi wasn’t going to sit around waiting for her social worker to find family number five for her. She’d had enough abuse in those places to last her a lifetime. She boards a bus and gets off in Jacksonville and retreats to the tunnels underneath the city. The tunnels are a haven and home to hundreds of street youth and there are certain rules they must follow in order to live there. No one is to give their real name so Lexi is known to this underground world as CJ.
CJ meets Barney who is one of the inhabitants of the tunnels and together they forge a friendship like no other. CJ hasn’t been this close to anyone in her life. Barney looks out for her, steals food for her, and shares whatever he has. He is quite a character and usually able to make CJ laugh. She has endured a lot of physical and emotional abuse in her life and as a result has built a wall around herself and trusts no one.
Thirty-six-year-old, Liz, is a doctor working in the local hospital emergency department. Liz too has built a wall around herself after her husband passed away two years prior. She throws herself into her work in order to dull the pain of her loss.
One day during lunch with a friend, Liz sees CJ watching Barney steal a bunch of bananas from a fruit stand and CJ is utterly shocked. She’d do a lot of things to survive in the streets but stealing isn’t one of them. Liz could tell just by the look of terror on CJ’s face that she was not okay with what Barney was doing. A few weeks later, Liz sees a man chasing a young girl and watches the girl hurl herself over a fifteen foot fence and crash to the ground severely spraining her arm. It turns out that it’s CJ, the same girl she saw watching her friend steal bananas with and rushes to the girl’s aid. Liz has a hard time convincing the young girl to let her help her. CJ finally relents but refuses to go to the hospital for x-rays so Liz retrieves some bandages from her car and wraps up CJ’s arm.
There is something about this girl that Liz just can’t get out of her mind and she worries incessantly about her welfare. She wonders if God has thrown CJ in her path for a specific reason. She seeks help from her Pastor and asks him if he thinks it is divine intervention and was God trying to tell her something about CJ? Fate continues to intervene and soon Liz and CJ are thrown together to begin a journey toward healing for both of them.
The Lion Cubs is a fast paced drama that is filled with love, restoration, and an unwavering faith in a higher power. At 411 pages this was no short read yet I finished it in one day. I just couldn’t put the book down it was that good. I’m certainly giving this beautifully written story a serious two thumbs up! Great debut novel for Canadian author Chrissy M. Dennis. She is one author to watch.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Word Alive Press and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now from your favourite bookseller.