Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're taking a look at a title from a new to me author that I learned about from TWO different sources. Care to guess? What's that? Oh yes, the publisher WAS in fact one of them...and that publisher would be Zondervan so we can count on good, clean fun with a Christian angle to the story. The second source was my bloggy friend Nayu from Nayuleska's Reading Corner! That's right. She's read several titles fairly recently from the author's Amish series and though I wasn't personally sold on those, when I saw this new Young Adult title from the same writer, I thought...why not? So, here we are and away we go! Today's book of choice is....
About the book....
Chelsea Morris has always been responsible, dependable, and focused on her dreams of fashion design—a dream that will officially begin come fall, when she leaves for college in New York City. And as she settles into her role as the lead designer for the local summer stock theater group, she decides to make the most of her last summer in North Carolina. But with her best friend Emily busy working late and spending time with Zander, and tensions with Chelsea’s boyfriend, Todd, running high, the summer she envisioned seems to be falling flat.
Then Dylan joins the latest summer production. There’s something about the college boy that makes her feel free and alive, and soon she’s broken up with Todd, and is sneaking out late to meet Dylan at parties and breaking rules at the playhouse. But before she knows it, her exciting nights are interfering with her job, her role on the play, as well as her relationship with Emily and with her parents. Worse, Chelsea finds herself feeling more and more estranged from God.
As the summer becomes wilder than she ever dreamed, Chelsea must decide if her heart is leading her in the right direction after all.
Okay, here's the thing. I'm pretty picky about my Christian Fiction reading selections. I'm not against Godly messages, verse, or Church in reading, BUT I don't like feeling preached to when I'm trying to get lost in a fictitious story. So, where did this one rate? Well, my "preachy radar" was raised a time or two, but then as things progressed, it settled down to a happy little buzz...and speaking of buzzes...
Here we have a story that could have been ripped from any teenagers diary with truth, experimentation, rule breaking, and the dreaded seen-but-ignored consequences. Chelsea is a great leading lady, well technically she's the lead costumer but you know what I mean. She takes care of her little brothers, respects her parents, spends times with her friends, and chases her dreams with an open heart. She also has a wonderful fella who adores her...too bad he's a bit distracted this summer (with good reason, but still...we all know that a lack of attention can make the relationship road more than a bit rocky). Guess it's a good thing she's really throwing herself into the summer production of Grease...and it doesn't hurt that she's getting a bit of extra attention from one of the male leads either. Now, before you go getting any ideas, she's a good kid, without a traitorous bone in her body, but the heart wants what it wants, no matter how fleeting or confused it might be. The fallout from those decisions can be heartbreaking, earthshaking, and even....deadly.
I must say, I really enjoyed this story more than I thought I was going to. I really connected with Chelsea (yeah, I was and am the "responsible, dependable, and focused" type) and appreciated her desire to break free of the image she found herself towing the line for. At times her choices made me cringe (going against her mother, sneaking out, DRINKING!) but I held out hope that she'd see the light and find her way back. All it took, was a little help from her TRUE friends, a re-connection with the big guy upstairs, and some twisted metal....don't ask, you'll have to read it to understand THAT one. She comes out better for it in the end, with stronger relationships with all those that really matter (Marni, her parents, Dylan, the plays producer, to name a few).
In conclusion, it's a book that tackles the BIG topics teens face in our day and age with grit AND grace. You've got underage drinking AND driving, unsupervised parties, the desire to be cool above all else, and the need to try the path less traveled despite the warning signs posted in flashing neon lights, all with the consequences that some of this seemingly invincible set never believe will happen to them. It doesn't matter how smart or pretty or rich or cool you are, what matters is what you put first in your life and what's in your heart of hearts. When that's settled and at peace, you're truly free to follow the path set forth for you and those that try to stand in your way will merely seem like another opportunity for growth instead of obstacles. So, what's in your heart? Are you secure in your relationships with others, your beliefs, and your life path? If so, I APPLAUD YOU...if not, it's never too late.
About the author...
Amy Clipston is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats.
Review copy received courtesy of Liane at Zonderkidz. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher's complete catalog, please feel free to click through the links provided above. This title was released April 2015 via Zondervan, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!