Monday, October 24, 2011

Hope's Journey by Stephanie Worlton

From Goodreads:
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.

From Misty:
Beautifully, achingly honest, Hope's Journey is a realistic exploration of a teenage pregnancy.  Written from an LDS perspective, Worlton  emphasizes what a taboo subject this can be in LDS circles, how cruel and prideful we can be without realizing it, and how our snap judgements of others can be so very unfair and unwise besides.  Told through both Sydney and Alex's points of view, she explores subjects such as worth, worthiness, insecurity, accepting change, forgivness, and repentence.  Her characters are not only realistic but endearing.  You will wish you were one of their friends.

As a general rule, I avoid books that look to be "poignant" or "heart-warming," but this was one I could not resist.  Admittedly, I was influenced greatly by the cover, which is one of the most beautiful and intriguing I have ever seen.  For me to enjoy a story, the writing has to be good, and the story has to be worth telling and worth the time it takes me to read it.  But most importantly, I really need to connect with the characters. 

I completely connected with Sydney.  Though having different outcomes, Sydney's experience took me straight back to my own high school experience, my own high school boyfriend, and my own inability to "break up" with my best friend even when I should have.  If I had truly loved him, I would have.  Working from both the male and female points of view, Worlton accurately describes the reasons why being serious with someone when you're both so young is so dangerously playing with fire, reasons I heard a hundred times as a teen and never, not once, actually interalized and believed--because I was like Sydney: a straight-A student, a good girl, and the exception to every rule.

I liked Alex's comparison of girls to cars, of Sydney to a Porsche--gorgeous, desireable, but something he was completely unprepared to take care of and a committment he was completely unprepared to make.  But, when we take adult priveleges we have to accept adult consequences, and I loved how, when her options became limited, Sydney owned up, made a new plan, and moved forward.  I would have liked to see more of Alex's acceptance, as well as a few other ends tied up, such as how his mother responded to his decision! 

I enjoyed how all the terminology and references to sex were so tastefully and tactfully done, but I do think this would be a limitation outside of the LDS market.  Same to be said of the situation as a whole; most of the world would probably not see much wrong with teen pregnancy and even less wrong with premarital sex, let alone consider it a sin that needed to be pain-stakingly repented of.  Not taking this into consideration might even put us in the same boat as the judgemental old hags in Sydney's ward! 

I appreciated Grams and her words of wisdom.  She could view the Sydney's situation from a more eternal perspective than anyone else.  I loved Gabe's sweet devotion.  And Damon.  Oh. Man. (fanning myself with my hand).  Even Sydney's brother.  His own plans took a back seat when Sydney needed his support.  She inspired devotion in so many.  How could she really be as terrible as those who were judgemental believed her to be?

This book is so completely a romance while the two main characters spend most of the book apart and misunderstanding the other's good intentions.  Usually misunderstandings, things that could be cleared up with a conversation, frustrate me, but this was just so sweetly done, and in truth, the relationship was much too complex to be cleared up with a conversation.  So many other factors came into play because Sydney and Alex had not lived enough of life (college, steady income, experience in general) for the relationship they had developed to work as it should.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially teen girls and women.  An enthusiastic 6 of 5 stars (the extra one's for Damon). 

I received a copy of Hope's Journey from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  Normally, I might do a giveaway for the copy, but I am soooo holding onto this one and getting it signed.  Thanks so much to Cedar Fort and to Stephanie Worlton for the chance to read and review Hope's Journey.

Even though I am being stingy with this one, you could still win a copy of Hope's Journey.  Visit Stephanie's blog for details.  Giveaway ends November 14, 2011.

Kreating Krazy--One day at a time

And if you have another moment, click over to my blog for a guest post by Stephanie Worlton where she gives more detail into her personal experience and hard-earned wisdom that inspired this book.


Mandi Tucker Slack said...

Great review, Misty! I loved Stephanie's book and I agree with your review 100%.

Jillian said...

Thank you for this great review, Misty. Love how honest you are :)

Elizabeth said...

AWESOME your blog name.

Stopping by from the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop.


Stop by my blog if you like to see flying bats from the Blog Hop Post. :)