By: Claire Gibson
Published Year: 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Duty. Honor. Country. That’s West Point’s motto, and every cadet who passes through its stone gates vows to live it. But on the eve of 9/11, as Dani, Hannah and Avery face four grueling years ahead, they realize they’ll only survive if they do it together.
Everyone knows Dani is going places. With athletic talent and a brilliant mind, she navigates West Point’s predominantly male environment with wit and confidence, breaking stereotypes and embracing new friends.
Hannah’s grandfather, a legendary Army general, offers a stark warning about the dangers that lie ahead, but she moves forward anyway, letting faith guide her path. When she meets her soul mate at West Point, the future looks perfect, just as planned.
Wild child Avery moves fast and doesn’t mind breaking a few rules (and hearts) along the way. But she can’t outpace her self-doubt, and the harder she tries, the further it leads her down a treacherous path.
The world—of business, of love, and of war—awaits Dani, Hannah, and Avery beyond the gates of West Point. These three women know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But soon, that adage no longer rings true—for their future, or their friendship. As they’re pulled in different directions, will their hard-forged bond prevail or shatter?
Beyond the Point is a heartfelt look at how our closest friends can become our fiercest battle buddies. After all, the greatest battles we fight rarely require a uniform.
What We Thought
Beyond the Point follows Hannah, Dani, and Avery from their decisions to attend West Point through their years following through parts of their service. At West Point, Hannah Dani and Avery are all on the basketball team and as women, are in the minority of the population. Because of these two commonalities, they become close friends.
It was fascinating to read about their college experience and how it differed from my own. I loved learning about their training and the different years of school and how they worked. This was also where Dani, Hannah, and Avery’s friendship was born and I loved watching that bloom. In fact, one for the parts I was disappointed by the most was how short this portion of the book was. I would’ve gladly had this be 75% of the book. Unfortunately, we were only privy to their first two years and it got cut off right at a big cliffhanger. The rest of the book I felt like I had missed important information and missed some of their bonding. I would’ve appreciated the full four year.
One of the issues with the book that Meghan mentioned was how a chapter would end with a cliffhanger, not pick up until 5 chapters later, and then it wouldn’t even really pick up where it left off. Instead, leaving the reader to find out what happened through flashbacks even more chapters later. This happens a few times and did get a little bit irritating. Not so much that it ruined the book for me, but I know that it frustrated a few of the other book club members
I enjoyed the friendship aspect of this book a lot. I liked that each of the girls had their own problems and they were envious of how perfectly they felt their friends’ lives were. There were times when Avery talked down her issues because Hannah was dealing with something a lot worse and I could really relate to that. There are so many times when we don’t tell our friends about our issues because we worry that they’re insignificant. It was nice to not feel alone in doing this as it is something I find myself doing a lot. I haven’t read a lot of stories in which that is so openly shared and discussed.
Considering that this is Gibson’s debut novel, I was very impressed. I felt like the story moved quickly and taught me a lot. I haven’t ever read a story about West Point and to have it from an insider’s perspective it was fascinating. It definitely piqued a curiosity in me and I would love to learn more about what it’s like to go there as well as the other military colleges.
The overall consensus was that everyone enjoyed the book. We each found different aspects fascinating and it sparked some interesting conversation. There were bits and pieces that each of us weren’t crazy about, but not enough so to ruin the book for any of us. For example, I found the bits about religion and Faith to be mostly unnecessary and out of place, but they were so excessive that I couldn’t deal with them.
If you like historic war novels or novels about friendship, I would recommend checking this out. I know it’s not historic, as it takes place in the early 2000s, but it has that vibe to it, so I think people who enjoy those types of novels would enjoy this as well.