Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Prodigal by Rektok Ross

by Rektok Ross

Available as: paperback, ebook
Pages: 329
Publisher: Ic13 Books
Publication date: January 31, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, Christian fiction, romance

From Goodreads:
"It was supposed to be Lexy Quinn’s year.

The hard-working wallflower has finally landed the coveted spot as Editor of her school’s newspaper. Then the rug is ripped out from under her when she finds out her mom is sick, and the family is moving half-way across the country to Preston Hills, Texas. Lexy can’t think of a worse place to be than at a school full of snobby rich kids where she’ll have to start all over to get people to notice her writing, or–who is she kidding?—notice her at all.

When the most swoon-worthy boy in town, who also happens to be the jock celebrity quarterback, gives her an exclusive interview, Lexy’s life takes an unexpected turn. Ash Preston is the perfect guy and, even better, he sees Lexy as she wants to be seen. But can she trust him?

PRODIGAL is a different kind of love story, where faith, romance, and God converge . . . and it just might change the way you look at your life.

{ I was kindly provided an ebook version for free by the author. }

I've been hearing good things about Prodigal, so when the author offered to let me read it, I jumped at the chance. And I'm so glad I did! Prodigal is a great story with a main character that is so relatable, I felt like I was reading about my own high school experience at some points.

In some ways, this is a very standard YA book, and I mean that in the best possible way. I mean that it will appeal to a lot of YA readers, and they'll see a lot of themselves in Lexy like I did. But at the same time, it's a very different sort of YA book, and I mean that in the best possible way too. I haven't read a lot of YA Christian fiction, but Prodigal made me want to go read more. Full disclosure: I am a Christian, but a lot of the Christian fiction I've read in the past (mostly adult Christian fiction) has pretty much bashed me over the head with religion to the point where I couldn't enjoy the story. Prodigal handles religion in a very meaningful way; it doesn't feel fake or forced or overdone. It feels real. It doesn't sugar coat things; it tackles a lot of the tough questions, like "if God is so good, why do bad things happen?" and "why does God put people through so much pain as part of His 'plan' for them?" And it acknowledges that sometimes we don't have the answers. Throughout Prodigal, Lexy starts to open up to the possibility of religion being a part of her life, and it's handled in a way that, at least in my opinion, all readers can enjoy, regardless of religious beliefs.

But this is only one part of Lexy's story. Lexy also deals with the usual issues that come with high school: making friends, extracurriculars, stressing over college, dealing with "mean girls"... but she has to face other issues that most other teenagers don't. She had to move to a new school her senior year. She wants to pursue a career that her dad doesn't approve of. And, worst of all, her mom has cancer. Lexy goes through a lot, but she grows a lot from it too, and I realized this along with Lexy as I read her story. And through it all there is Ash Preston. Sometimes Lexy is not sure where he stands - is he interested in her, or is he just a friend? Is he even a friend at all? A lot of the time I was not sure where Ash stood either, or how their relationship would turn out, but I kind of liked that I couldn't predict where it would go. There's a bit of love-at-first-sight, but there are also deep conversations about the future, secrets revealed, miscommunications, fights, break-ups, make-ups... It's a very realistic relationship that many readers (including this one) have had before and can definitely relate to.

I had a feeling I would like Prodigal, but I underestimated just how much I would like it. It handles romance and religion with a great balance. It balances happy and sad too, and real life and dreams. I'd pick up another Rektok Ross book in a heartbeat. Definitely recommended to romance readers who like a handsome hero with some secrets in his past, and very strongly recommended to readers who are Christians, are curious about becoming Christians but have some questions, or are just interested in Christianity itself.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Coming tomorrow: my Q&A interview with author Rektok Ross!

Don't forget you can still enter to win a copy of Prodigal in a giveaway!
Open til August 31! Details here!
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