Review by Mickey Schommer
For younger dog enthusiasts, Lily Unleashed provides an uplifting story about the trials of friendship and the harsh reality of puppy mills.
At just over 200 pages, J.D. Kloster has written a novel of a manageable size and targets a younger audience with its preteen lead and cast of realistic, likable characters.
Lily is a Green Bay-based sixth-grader whose life is uprooted by her dog’s death. But when her sixth-grade teacher, Ms. Stadler, tells Lily that she can no longer take care of a puppy mill rescue dog, the kind-hearted middle-schooler finds a way to help the rescue pup. Lily brings awareness to the tragedy of puppy mills, fully embodying the “adopt don’t shop” mentality.
When she takes in the new rescue dog, Lily realizes she must navigate the trials of training a rescue mill puppy, combat the complaints of her unswayable neighbor, and find forgiveness in her heart for the changing dynamic of her friendship with her former BFF.
Kloster writes through themes of grief and change in her precise narrative style that inspires advocacy in the audience’s own lives. Heartbreaking at first, the author delivers the audience a well-deserved happy ending.
If there’s one thing Kloster hopes to convey, it’s that everyone has a purpose.
Lily Unleashed is a coming-of-age novel that highlights the hope we can lend to both ourselves and others as well as the determination with which we can change lives.