The Ever Part of Always — Keely Tucker’s First Adventure by Toby K. Davis is a young adult novel that departs from the norm by exploring the inner world of young Keely Rosalie Jackson; a world forged to cope with an emotionally neurotic mother, an absentee father, the loss of her confidante, her grandmother, and a relentless bully who seems to trail Keely around the Appalachian foothills where she spends every moment outside of school. The loss of her grandmother adds a transformational presence to Keely’s life, an elderly and fragile horse named Mariah, who for Keely is the reincarnation of her encouraging, supportive and loving grandmother. Toby Davis has an intuitive sense for the inner monologue of a young adolescent learning to overcome trials and tribulations that she inherited by no fault of her own, and for the loneliness and pain Keely experiences but eventually overcomes by asserting herself.
The Ever Part of Always is a story of a young woman’s empowerment and coming into her own. The fantasy of her relationships with Mariah, and mythical beast Crea, are so enveloping and inspiring that I felt I was entering a whole new realm myself. An endearing, well-developed read that contends with the realities of the difficult and formative transition from childhood to adulthood and rewards the protagonist and the reader with Keely’s triumph. From beginning to end, I found it to be an exciting and great story. A must read.