This was generously given to me by the Goodreads First Reads giveaways and I really appreciate it. This program has sent me books that are out of my particular box and I have enjoyed the forays into the other boxes.
Well, this was a first for me, my first YA Christian-based read.
I liked it. If I had the option, there would be a 3.5 star. I have wondered why people say that, but now I know. I enjoyed the story, but it felt awkward in some places.
The book was enjoyable. The premise was interesting, different; but some of the situations are totally improbable.
Kate Carter is a funny, engaging young girl. Her self-deprecating humor is fun but it is not overdone. She doesn't tear herself down in an abusive way. The high school scene doesn't seem quite right, but it has been a long while since I have been in that setting and my kids go to a private school that doesn't seem a bit like this school. Another issue -- and this is totally a me issue -- I had with the school was its name. The book takes place in South Woodhaven Falls so the high school was SWF High School. Every time I read that, it took me out of the story because all I could think of was Single White Female. Given the apparent nondiversity of the school/town, as the book went further it just seemed more appropriately named.
The buildup was good, the ending was abrupt and strained credibility. A little more of the after story would have been welcomed.
I liked that the parents weren't idiots. They were not cariactures; they were not plot devices. Kate made gentle fun of her parents internally and within the family in a loving way, not maligning them to all around the lockers, much like any teenager does with parental practices and foibles and pecadillos. She did not complain to friends about her parents and their care for her. Family stories were shared and shown with love. I enjoyed those bits.
There was a side story with Kate's brother that just seemed to be there, not for a plot advance or in any way as a learning device. It just seemed to plant the seed of "kids, when you go to college, call home," more than anything else.
The Christianity part was not overplayed, but again it seemed to be stuck in to get the Christian tag and to show there would be nothing inappropriate in it. Kate seemed to have a less than rudimentary grasp of Christianity. But to be fair, my 12-y-o daughter probably would have the same questions in the same situations. It seems, though, as a 16-y-o would have had more of a theoretical if not practical exposure
I am not familiar with Ms. Mangum and her backlist. Reading the reviews after I read the book, I see that she has at least one series out there. I do think this would be a good start to the series. I think, though the premise strains credibility, it is still good and can be incorporated into a number of issues. If this is a start to a series, then it makes sense that Kate's knowledge/interest/curiosity in religion would grow. The young man that could be a possible BF for Kate is a very active Christian. While he played a minor role in this book, it would be simple/natural to have him help her explore organized religion.
I will be giving this to my 12-y-o. I do hope that she chooses to read it. I want to know her reactions to it.