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Kelly Green
When Knowing Comes
Kelly Green, author
As young boys in the late 1990s, Atticus "Ace" Elbridge and Roberto "Robbie" Rivelino Santos, share an unbreakable bond and a singular vision, a coveted state soccer championship. But a sexual predator infiltrated their elite soccer club with a different plan that destroys the young athletes' lives. Decades later, California reopens an extraordinary opportunity by extending the deadline for survivors to pursue justice. With the statute of limitations lifted, Robbie resolutely demands that his trusted friend, the steadfast attorney Ace, sue the influential youth sports organization for allowing a dangerous predator to lurk among the children entrusted to its care. But there's a catch, beneath Ace's veneer of legal prowess hide demons of past events that shattered his own family. As the courtroom transforms into an arena of painful truths, battle-worn and cynical Ace must confront his own haunting past to pursue elusive justice for Robbie. With Robbie's unwavering strength beside him, Ace must face down the massive organization and its powerful legal team. When Knowing Comes delves deep into humanity's remarkable ability to overcome adversity, to seek accountability, acceptance, and understanding. Prepare for an immersive narrative that weaves a tapestry of generations connected by tragedy and the triumph of love over trauma.
Attorney Green draws on her legal experience in this emotionally rich narrative about one man’s quest for justice as a survivor of child sexual abuse. In 2019, after California changed its laws to enable childhood sexual abuse victims to sue on old claims, attorney Atticus “Ace” Elbridge contacts Robbie Santos, his childhood soccer teammate, to tell him that he can now sue the Athletic Association for Young Americans (AAYA), the organization that ran their soccer club and was responsible for Robbie being raped by an assistant coach. Through use of a dual timeline, Green alternates between the 2019 trial where Ace represents Robbie in his suit against AAYA and 1998, when Robbie’s dreams of being a soccer star were stalled after his coach’s nephew sexually assaulted him and his team was disbanded.

Green adds authenticity to the depiction of the trial, legal procedural elements and the advice Ace gives to Robbie about the potentially painful nature of his testimony. With the focus on coaching and the nature of the relationship between a coach and a child team member, the author is spot-on, not only with the element of vulnerability as a potential for abuse, but the prevalence of sexual abuse in sports.

As the author establishes the timeline for the incidences of abuse, she intersperses these horrific incidents with the believable reactions of the parents when faced with the idea that their children were harmed, from disbelief to horror that their child was a victim. With incisive empathy, Green explores cycles of trauma, as one of the elements that acts to compel the plotline forward is the suggestion that a significant event in the past of Ace’s father, Steve, led to his possible alcoholism, fractured relationship with Ace’s mother, and to Steve’s inability to cope with either. This debut is distinguished by both Green’s legal acuity and clear-eyed humanity.

Takeaway: Emotional story of childhood sexual abuse and a quest for justice years later

Comparable Titles: Kate Walbert’s His Favorites, Vikki Petraitis’s The Unbelieved.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A