Graham Finch and Drew Daniels are high school friends who had crushes on each other but never acted on them. Many years later Graham is working in a state prison helping rehabilitate prisoners. He is also paralyzed from a car accident and trying to cope and adjust to his new lifestyle. Drew is a teacher running from her past and ends up working in the same prison as Graham. Feelings start to grow but both Graham and Drew have to make peace with their pasts and figure out how to move forward.
The setting of this book was great, Yes, it was a prison, but the main characters were trying to help the inmates become successful when they were finally to be released. The prison also showed some of the truths of prison life. The dangers of working where criminals were housed and how they interacted with each other seemed so real that I felt like I was working right beside Graham and Drew.
I loved the layout of Mandatory Release. The point of view’s alternated chapters were fun and easy to follow. Who’s story I enjoyed more? That is hard to say. I enjoyed Graham being so positive and not being poor me as many newly paralyzed people would be. Drew’s chapters were different. There were many times that I was in awe of her strength in dealing with her life. Her long term relationship with Ben kept me reading having to know what happened and if that relationship would ever be in her past.
With the humor and life like story line I will definitely recommend this novel. Jess Riley is also added to my must read authors list.
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