5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
There are 4 sister...Gustavson sisters, who have a secret society (tongue in cheek) called the G-FORCE which meets regularly, to keep in touch, and irregularly whenever there's an important issue to resolve together. Phoebe is one of the sisters...the different one...the one who has resisted God all her life and who has decided to go completely opposite to her family, at the shame of some, and at the concern of all.
At first there seemed to be no reason for it, other than rebellion, however, two really bad events in her life cinch her distaste for all things God.
A young man she met during this time made it so much worse with his self-righteous rebuke.
Present day, this man comes back into her life a changed man, stunned to finally meet the young girl who changed his life with her reaction to his rebuke so many years ago, and tries everything to make amends.
So...sounds good, right? Oh, let me tell you, it's even better than that!
The writing, incredible.
The plot, amazing.
The characters, impeccable.
I was so loving the growth and lessons in each person's life, and the lovely way the author shared the gospel and faith issues without that "in your face" way many Christian authors do, and without the obligatory prayer or church things thrown in just to give it a Christian fiction title. This was well done...in fact VERY well done. One of my favorite books this year...until the end...explanation below.
Okay, spoiler, just so you know. So if you intend to read this one and decide to read this to the next, don't read on.
Phoebe had two things happen...parents were killed in a car crash with a drunk teenager who survived and has been in prison for like, 15 years, for vehicular manslaughter I think, and has just been released.
Second, in her grief after her parent's death (she was 16), she was at a party taking photos when she was ushered into a room for some reason, the door was locked behind her and she was raped, resulting in pregnancy. Through some pretty skilled ways, she managed to keep it all a secret, went off to a "farm" for the summer on a "work program", had the baby, and gave it up for adoption, making it back home in time for school with a new in-shape body.
Flash forward, Phoebe is a successful artist and photographer who has had problems all her life with trust issues, loneliness, and still hating all things God. The contact and updates she had with the adoptive parents stopped, so she's left forever wondering. At each birth her sister has, she's sent on a tail spin of drinking and sleeping, and this last one was pretty bad.
Plus the self-righteous youth worker that was so awful to her when she was pregnant is trying to make amends and things are going pretty well. At the end she's meeting the mother of her parents' killer and the suspense of that is cool, and you think it may have some serious significance, and maybe it has something to do with the adoptive parents of her child...and you're waiting to see what this was all about...and...
It ends. Ugh!
I mean...you can do a series about the four sisters, let each have their own story as a stand alone book, write amazing books about each of them, which this was, and still give the puzzle all the pieces!!
If you don't mind it, and intend to buy the books, I say do it! Good writing! It really gripped me.
Edit to my review...
Chatting with the author about this cliffhanger, it seems as though there was no good way to end the book. Critical information coming up next couldn't fit in without making the book way too long. The two stories were too closely linked.
So I've revised my harsh review. I've just run across too many books with no ending that I didn't want to let it go.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Phoebe and Trevor meet at a gas station, and learn they not only know who the other is now, but they actually had a pretty terrible encounter years ago.
(Though reviews are inherently subjective, I prefer to provide some organization to my opinions through the use of a personal rubric. The following notes may contain spoilers.)
Plot and Setting: 4 -- Plot has unique elements and no major holes, but a few shaky bits and/or a slight lack of focus. Plot points in sub-plots are dropped or not resolved. For the most part, the story is unique, well paced, and poignant. Then there's the last chapter, which is a weirdly separate entity that brings more questions than answers and really feels out of place. I would've preferred more wrap-up details for the main plot--like, how does Phoebe's new faith impact her art and photography, more about the series of paintings she started, etc--rather than this unfinished bit that is, apparently, mainly leading into the plot of book 4. Setting is clear, believable, and consistent.
Characters: 5 -- Relatable, realistic, interesting, dynamic characters. Even minor characters have depth, as do the relationships between characters. Wow. So much to love about the characters and their relationships in this one! I love Trevor for the passion and frankness in his faith and life, and Phoebe for her aching, artistic heart. I also really enjoyed seeing Renata from Phoebe's perspective, how she's changed since really knowing God, and the strengths and weaknesses of her 2 marriages. The accountability between Trevor and Victor (and Juliette) is beautiful. I'm also a fan of everyone's reactions to Charise. :)
Mechanics and Writing: 4 -- Scattered typos, punctuation issues, and word errors, including a few major mistakes. More errors in this one than in the previous books, which is disappointing. In addition to typos, there's some trouble with reckoning time/ages. One flashback section is headed "four years ago" when it should be fourteen, or actually thirteen. We also see mention that Trevor is nearly 30, when in reality it would be Phoebe who is 29, and Trevor is several years older, since she was 16 in the flashbacks, and he was a new college grad (which puts him at 21 or 22 then, and 35 or 36 now). Intelligent use of POV, with longish sections of Phoebe and Trevor as each story took precedence. Skillful writing that adds to the story.
Redeeming Value: 5 -- Well-developed, central, uplifting themes. Phoebe releases a major secret and finds peace due to the loving reactions of those around her. Trevor is working on an album about stepping away from legalistic Christianity to acknowledging how reliant on grace we all are, and this is something he has learned himself. Sex, alcohol, violence, etc, are not glorified at all. We hear about Phoebe's partying in high school, which included drinking and smoking pot, and how she was raped, and how she still gets drunk and puts on a show of sexiness, even when she doesn't feel like it. We also hear about Trevor's struggles with pornography. But all of these things are seen as harmful, and things that we need to rely on God's grace to step away from.
Personal Enjoyment: 5 -- I loved it. It made me feel in all the best ways, and leaves me content and satisfied. One I'll definitely read again.