Age Appropriate For: 15 and up (mild violence and difficult situations) Best for Ages: 15 -25
If you are looking for a book where all the characters are in nice, neat packages, move on to another author. Darlington doesn’t sugar-coat her characters and is honest about pain and struggles without becoming vulgar. Even I, who can be very sensitive, feel like that her books are honest, are a bit gritty- without doing things just for the shock value. It is becoming harder to find books like this, but I think they are some of the most powerful.
I loved Roxi and felt so sorry for her throughout the whole book. Yes, there were a couple of times where I was telling her what she should and shouldn’t do (making my sibling worry even more about my sanity), but she was a lovable character. Abby was a bit harder to love, but she was also an understandable character. The more I read, the more I wondered if Darlington was drawing from people she knew, because each character sparkled in their diversity.
The plot twists kept me on my toes the whole time. There were a couple of times I was talking aloud saying things like: “No she wouldn’t! That couldn’t happen! Oh, my, it just happened.” Or “Wait! Nooooooo!!” In short, this book really kept my attention.
I think my favorite thing about this book was the message. Unlike a lot of even Christian books, Darlington peppered the story with Christians who were living out their faith and willing to reach out to those who were unlovable. Too many people are so cynical in their writing these days and only have maybe one Christian acting loving and the rest are hypocrites. This book was refreshing and inspiring at the same time. The faith themes were there and so well woven in that they fit seamlessly into the story and characters. Nothing feels forced or overdone.
I highly recommend this book for those who like realistic stories, unpredictable plots, and strong messages of faith.