Novella Review: Worth the Effort - Ella's Story

Author: Kai Strand
Date of Publication: May 6, 2014
Pages: 78
Source: Author for review - Thank you!

Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is terrified of him.

Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage. 

But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?

Worth the Effort is a unique story. It tackles the tough topic of homelessness, something I’ve only ever come upon in one other novel. The topic is quite obviously a taboo subject and people become uncomfortable when discussing it but when has avoiding something helped solve the problem? Strand managed to give us a quick view of the life on the streets in this 78 page story and it made the novella for me.

Ella is a sweet, down to earth narrator when she comes across Ayden, a homeless boy taking refuge in the ally behind the coffee shop she works at. Reacting as anyone would, her heart rate quickens and she fumbles with her keys as anxiety takes over and makes the easy task much harder. What if he attacks her, she is alone defenceless. But all Ayden does is give her key back.

The novella made me think so much. We always manage to find ways to distinguish ourselves from others, sometimes were smarter, prettier or richer and that apparently makes us better. The homeless are seen as less than human sometimes because why else would we be terrified to face them. Just because they don’t have a home shouldn't mean that they are bent on hurting those that do. 

As always topics of homelessness arise because of hardships that push people on to the street. Kai Strand managed to explore all these details and at the same time build a relationship around Ella and Ayden. They both grow as they get to know each other and this fascinated me. Ella was already a round character with a lot of background and personality. As she got to know Ayden and started to question societies judgements on homelessness she grew as a character and became so much more.

My only issue arose with the romance angle which I felt was a little unrealistic and rushed but I realize that this was a novella of only 78 pages and so, many things couldn't be dragged out for as long as I wished they would be.

Still, for it’s length this story was a great joy to read. I learned things and was able to appreciate two very likeable characters as well as a well written story. I think that this story has the makings of a book but I’m happy with what I got in the novella.



  1. Oh, I have never heard of this novella before, so definitely thanks for bringing this to my attention. I would love to read about characters that are homeless. I don't think I've ever come across that before, and it would be fascinating to see life in their perspective, especially since I know it would lead to a lot of discernment and awareness. Awesome review, love :)

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. This one definantly gave a quick view of that. If you want to read more about that subject though I recommend Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala.


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