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Just Look Up Paperback – July 4, 2017
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Walsh (Paper Hearts) competently addresses issues of self-worth, shame, and redemption in this sweet, well-paced story. She lapses into preachiness at times, particularly when lamenting the ubiquity of mobile electronics, but likable characters and the strong message of discovering what truly matters carry the story to a satisfying conclusion. (Publishers Weekly)
Growing up with the nickname “Pudge,” Lane Kelley always felt out of place in the resort town of Harbor Pointe. Now a beautiful, slim, and brilliantly successful interior designer at a prestigious design firm in Chicago―and on the brink of an important promotion―she receives word that her brother, Nate, has been in a serious accident and is in a coma.
Returning to the family who betrayed her brings back old memories, and she can’t wait to return to the city. But when Ryan Brooks re-enters her life, she realizes that not all the memories were unpleasant.
Walsh captures the essence of Lane’s angst with the perfect blend of mystery, humor, and delightful word pictures. In this beautiful story of disillusionment turned to healing, Walsh brings about a true transformation of restored friendships and love. Highly recommended. (Christian Market Magazine)
This novel features a deeply emotional journey, packaged in a sweet romance with a gentle faith thread that adds an organic richness to the story and its characters.
Lane is an easy character with whom to identify: a smart, “I-glued-my-brokenness-back-together-myself, thankyouverymuch” workaholic whose strength finds too much of its foothold in the rightly earned bitterness of having been bullied as an overweight child and teen. Ryan is the guy who could have been broken by his abusive childhood, but he wasn’t. Instead, he found help, self-worth and direction among some of the very people who contributed to Lane’s feelings of being on the outside of her family, looking in. Their romantic pairing is a perfect blend of patience, discovery and sweet acceptance that goes the extra mile.
Highly recommended for fans of clean contemporary romance, late coming-of-age stories, family drama and inspirational fiction, Just Look Up is definitely one for the keeper shelf! (USA Today)
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Lane is an interior designer up for a big promotion at work when her mother calls to say her brother is on life support following a motorcycle accident. She returns home, but is immediately thrown into conflict with everyone in her family (except perhaps her father, who only gets about two lines in the whole novel). The reasons behind this conflict are gradually revealed as the novel progresses
Ryan was also in the motorcycle accident, but escaped with minor injuries. He’s from a bad background, but he’s made something of himself—with the help of the Kelley family, who were surrogate parents for him and his sister throughout his teenage years. He’s always had feelings for Lane, but never felt good enough for her. Now he meets the adult Lane, he realises she has issues, and he might be able to help.
Just Look Up was a great title that worked on many levels.
There was the obvious, that we have to look up to see the world around us, to live. Lane spent much of time looking down at her phone that she missed what was going on around her. And the more subtle, the way Lane consciously or subconsciously looked down on herself.
It seemed to me that looking down was a habit formed early in her teenage years, where she looked down because of her low self-esteem. I could relate to this—and I suspect many grown women can, especially those of us who were bookish teenagers who were never part of the ‘cool’ crowd.
To me, Just Look Up showed the lie that many of us believe in our teenage years.
The lie that we don’t fit in because aren’t good enough. Lane was different to the others in her family—lactose intolerant in a family that made and sold cheese for a living, unattractive and unpopular (or so she thought) in a family that were attractive and popular.
What especially hurt for Lane was that her family perpetuated the lie through their ‘harmless’ name calling (‘Pudge’ is not term of endearment. Ever). The result, I think, was a teenager and adult who never understood how precious she was to God, because she never felt she was precious to her family.
Overall, Just Look Up is a story about how achieving our dreams might not be everything we thought it might be, but the answer might have been in front of us all along. Recommended.
Thanks to Tyndale Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Just Look Up is a highly relevant story and I loved author, Courtney Walsh's note at the end of the story explaining how the plot came to be.
Let's talk characters. Right away we're introduced to Lane Kelley, a woman who has strived to climb the corporate ladder of success. Chained to her cell phone it takes a life threatening accident to pull her eyes up long enough to face her painful past, which includes childhood friend, Ryan Brooks.
You guys, this story has all of the emotions and I believe it has everything to do with the masterful way Ms. Walsh crafts characters. Each character, even minor characters, are created with such depth it was impossible to not grow attached to the feelings of each as they played out. If that wasn't enough you have this story--this one that mirrors real life in its authenticity and develops this powerful theme that won't likely leave me anytime soon.
This story does not shy away from the devastating reality behind personal pain, regret, fears, and heartbreak but Ms. Walsh brings balance penning a sweet story where forgiveness, love, and beauty can be had if only we Just Look Up.
I highly recommend this book to readers who love a heartwarming romance that tackles tough issues but will leave you inspired, hopeful, and absolutely ready to book your next stay in Harbor Pointe.
The unconditional love that Brooks has for Lane brings her full circle to love, home, and fsmily
Loved the characters and the ending.