Monday, November 18, 2013

Review - Prodigal by Rektok Ross

Title: Prodigal
Author: Rektok Ross
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Pages: 329, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.36 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG (No more than kissing)

Summary 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.

Prodigal was a lovely surprise!! I honestly wasn't really sure if I would want to post my review on this blog since my audience isn't necessarily Christian. I knew from the title and the cute little sheep on the cover (from the Parable of the Lost Sheep) that this would be Christian fiction, but what I didn't know was that this is actually a really great YA contemporary romance as well.  It was EXACTLY what I've been looking for - a Christian book that isn't preachy or cheesy and would appeal to anyone who enjoys YA contemporary romance!!  For that reason, I decided to feature it here after all!

If you enjoy YA contemporary romance and aren't totally offended by Christian content, then this book is for you.  Honestly, the Christian elements are definitely there, but they're not heavy-handed or at all preachy, so this book will appeal to a much broader audience.

The negatives:
  • Clichés.  This book does employ some of the typical YA clichés.  The biggest offense is that Lexy is an "average" girl who moves to a new town and is suddenly pursued by all the cutest and most popular boys in school.  To give Ross some credit, there is a bit of an explanation for this - Ash hopes that Lexy is a clean slate since he already has a reputation as being kind of a jerk with the local girls, and then Ash's attention helps capture the other guys' attention.  A few other clichés were there as well (the mean girl who makes Lexy's life miserable, the fairy tale makeover), but I did find that most of these clichés had a bit of a twist to them that made them still interesting and I honestly loved the characters so much that it didn't bother me nearly as much as it would otherwise!
  • Lexy and Ash.  Considering that this was a romance, the most important element, of course, is the main characters and their connection.  This is where Ross did a fantastic job!!  I absolutely LOVED Ash and wanted nothing more than for Lexy to be with him forever and magically solve all of his deep-seated issues.  Of course, it can't happen that easily or we wouldn't have a story, but I was 100% engaged in their romance and was really hoping things would work out for them in the end.  I also loved that, while Lexy was definitely wrapped up in Ash, he wasn't the only interest in her life - her passion for journalism was refreshing and realistically portrayed and it made her a well-rounded character.  Ash and Lexy did both have their flaws - Lexy's insecurities and Ash's fears almost made a relationship impossible (I was kind of baffled when Lexy didn't seem to get that Ash wanted her even after he'd kissed her passionately at a certain dance).  But, I couldn't give up on them, even when they had seemingly given up on each other.  In fact, I stayed up until 2 AM reading because I needed to know what happened with them!!
  • Christian message without being preachy.  This book was definitely a Christian novel at its heart.  It references stories and verses from the Bible and follows Lexy as she explores God's presence in this world.  But the Christian elements are spread out enough that the message isn't heavy-handed (it feels like a regular contemporary romance with Christian themes thrown in until toward the end when Lexy is really exploring it further).  Also, the Christian characters in this book aren't preachy and they aren't pushy, so the book isn't either.  I have to confess that, even though I'm Christian, I haven't read all that many Christian novels because the ones I have read have seemed so cheesy and preachy.  This book didn't feel that way at all!
I HIGHLY recommend this book to fans of Christian fiction and to anyone who loves YA contemporary romance and doesn't mind a Christian theme.  I will definitely be reading more of Ross's work in the future!  4/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

About the Author: Rektok Ross is the bestselling author of the debut Young Adult novel "Prodigal." Rektok is also the Official LA Young Adult Fiction Examiner HERE.  Rektok graduated college with a degree in journalism and currently practices entertainment law in between fiction writing and obsessing over all things YA. Rektok likes animals, a good underdog story, and dessert at every meal.

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