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Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
Contemporary fiction

Beyond the Point


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Claire Gibson, on your first book!

by Claire Gibson

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Quick take

Three young women enter West Point on the eve of 9/11. Their lives will never be the same.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational



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?

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Beyond the Point.
Beyond the Point


November 10, 2006 // Tarin Kot, Afghanistan

Assuming her gear scared him, Hannah Nesmith took off her helmet and sunglasses and placed them on the ground.

Da sta lapaara day,” she said. This is for you.

The boy couldn’t have been much older than seven. He wore navy blue pants and a threadbare shirt, both at least two sizes too big. Dirty toenails peeked out of his sandals, and his heels threatened to strike the rocky ground. Every student at the school was dressed this way. Nothing fit. Everything was covered in sand. His arms and neck and face were tanned and smooth. Any other day, in any other country, Hannah would have been tempted to reach out and stroke his head. He was just a child.

A U-shaped concrete building stood behind them, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by large rocks the color of the desert. There were no roads. The infrastructure for education had crumbled under Taliban rule, which had turned this area of Afghanistan into a haven for opium production and sharia law. Hannah wondered how far these children had to walk to school, what their parents did all day, and whether or not there was even food at home when they returned at night. In Afghanistan, the average life expectancy was only fifty years. Nearly half of the population was younger than fourteen. And these children were caught in the crossfire.

The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Markham, sent Hannah’s platoon on humanitarian missions like this specifically because she was a woman. He said her presence would put the children and teachers at ease. But these students would think she was a Transformer robot before they believed she was a female.

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Why I love it

When you run a bookstagram account, you read so many books. Sometimes I lose count of how many I’m reading at once. Sometimes I focus on a single book and don’t come up for air until I am done. That’s what happened with Beyond the Point. When I started reading it, I had no idea just how much it would pull at my heartstrings.

Gibson tells the story of three women—Dani, Hannah, and Avery—over the span of seven years, from the sunset of their high school years to the dawn of a new, shared era at West Point Military Academy, in the wake of the devastating 9/11 attacks. We follow their intertwining stories as they form long-lasting friendships, striving to be the best they can be for their families, country, and faith. Through these women, we are reminded of the strength it takes to summon the courage to face challenges in both war and peace.

As a new author, reading other debuts has taken on a new significance. Still, I was surprised to find out that this was Gibson’s first novel—the writing is polished and seamless! If you love women’s fiction, historical fiction, or well-written stories about friendship, this is a book for you.

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Member ratings (8,459)

  • Sarah M.

    Carmel, NY

    I am just about to finish this book and I wish it wasn’t the case. Such a beautiful story that dabbles just enough in faith that if you have it you’ll cry, if you don’t yet it won’t offend but inspire

  • Allyson H.

    Lake Park, MN

    “This isn’t what I like to read” I told myself as I choose it. I was partly right, b/c I didn’t like it, I LOVED it. The characters and lessons are so real, raw, and full of emotion. Flawless work, CG

  • Lesley M.

    Bellevue, NE

    Hands down one of the best books I’ve read this year! I’m a military spouse (& former athlete) so this books hits close to home in parts. I laughed, cried, cheered etc. Read it! You won’t regret it!

  • Erica O.

    St Augustine, FL

    This was an incredible book filled with the stories of 3 separate amazing, courageous and imperfect women and their journey before, during and after their path at West Point. Could not put this book down!

  • Sarah S.

    Sinking Spring, PA

    Gah. This book brought out all the emotions in this former Navy Brat. The author’s ability to connect faith, friendship, and the military grabbed me in a way that I didn’t know was possible. Loved it!

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