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Hope's Journey Paperback – July 14, 2011
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The emotions portrayed are raw and very honest. The book follows both Alex and Sydney's point of view. Each chapter alternates between the two. It is very frank in dealing with the many issues and social aspects of teens dealing with pregnancy and the fallout of family and friends. I could picture the scenes in my mind. Stephanie Worlton doesn't sugar coat the situation. I felt particularly bad for Sydney as she is judged. I found it ironic that she feels more of the social pains than Alex does, because it is her body changing and not his. It was also hard to realize that their dreams had changed. The successful and dynamic couple now have broken dreams ahead of them.
I think that this is a great book for youth to read. The emotions are real. The situation is real. It might help a few to think twice before following the same path. Many young women have tied up their self esteem into their relationships with boys. Thinking that if they don't give up their virtue, the boy will leave. This book addresses that thought admirably.
This book kept me glued to the pages and I hoped the best for each of them and their innocent child.
While this book is told from the viewpoint of an LDS couple. Any family that teaches abstinence or wants to realistically deal with the issues of teen pregnancy will find this book to of great value.
This book truly had the potential to be a 5 star book. There are just a few things that detracted from the story. I wished there had been a couple more chapters at the end. For so long it felt like the story was headed one direction and then it headed another direction which was ok but I felt like it was just too easy. I wanted more resolution and closure and it just wrapped up too quickly. There were also several subplots that could have been left out or developed further. For example Sydney’s brother abruptly decides not to serve a mission but we are never told why and he’s never brought up again so why include that storyline at all.
Hope’s Journey is a fabulous book I would recommend to any LDS teenager in a serious relationship as well as to the parents of LDS teenagers. This was a book I couldn’t put down.
In the Author’s Notes Stephanie says this:
Everybody makes mistakes; nobody makes it through this life unmarked. It just so happens that some sins are more visible to others. It is my desire to tell a story that will perhaps cause people to take a step back and take a deeper look before they cast judgment.
By sharing her story in this book she achieved her desire.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Source: From Publisher for Review
"Sydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship,and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other. "
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: First off, I'd like to thank Stephanie for giving me a copy of this novel to review and inviting me to participate in this blog tour. She also agreed to have a Q & A on my blog, which I greatly appreciate.
Now then, this book deals with teen pregnancy--an issue that is very sensitive. I went into this novel not really knowing what to think. Basically, I went into this novel blind.
The novel switches off narratives between Sydney and Alex which I really enjoyed. I loved being able to dig into both characters' heads. This allowed me to really get to know the characters. They stopped being just characters, and became actual people.
The novel was very well-written and flowed nicely into the novel. It wasn't flowery and didn't detract from the message Stephanie was trying to share, but rather enhanced that message. The writing was beautiful in other words.
This novel dealt more with the aftermath of her pregnancy than the actual act of precursors leading up to her pregnancy. This was a decision I really enjoyed. Stephanie focused on the healing process and trying to find yourself even when your whole life is seemingly falling apart.
Two of my favorite characters in this novel were Sydney and Damon. Damon was such a good friend to Sydney. He's the type of guy that you wish you knew. He supported Sydney throughout her pregnancy when so many people would have turned against her. I absolutely loved him.
And Sydney's silent strength was something that I admired greatly. She made a mistake, but she owned up to it and was strong. I liked that.
This book wasn't the most emotional book I've read on this subject, but I really enjoyed reading it. And even though this is an LDS fiction book, I would recommend this to anybody whether they identify as a religious person or not.
In Summary: A beautiful novel that touches on the heart-breaking subject of teenage pregnancy in a way that emphasized healing and discovering who you are even after your identity seems to have been shattered.
Warnings/ Side-notes: Although this novel deals with teenage pregnancy, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to any teenager. It's not explicit or graphic and is a very clean novel. There would be no reason why I wouldn't recommend it.
The Wrap-up: I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was compellingly and beautifully written. The characters were realistic and lovable despite their mistakes. Stephanie Worlton did a great job at crafting this story.