Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum

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Paige Alder has a problem: She can’t say no to anyone. Whether it’s helping her best friend plan a party for her parents’ anniversary, or volunteering to teach two-year-olds at church. Not to mention the fact that she is still doing secretarial work at the adoption agency she works at, a position her boss loves to see her complete to perfection, though her degree qualifies her to take on actual cases. As she helps her best friend plan for her upcoming wedding, Paige learns that there is only one thing she can say no to- the cute guy at church who would like to take her to lunch. The reason? Too busy. Paige believes that serving is the best way to utilize the single years of her life, but when her busy schedule starts to keep her from devotional time and grocery shopping, Paige has to re-evaluate her priorities before she loses her sanity.

Pros

Paige is a charming, funny character who wins the readers heart and attention from the very beginning. Her struggle to balance doing good things while caring for herself is an important, relevant lesson for young adult readers today. Erynn Mangum’s novel is full of light humor, witty dialogue, and laughs.

Cons

While I enjoyed reading Paige’s story, the truth is- nothing really happens in this book, or hardly anything at all. Besides Paige’s romantic dalliance, there is next to zero tension or rising action in this novel. What’s more, the minor storylines don’t resolve themselves. Paige’s issues with time management and saying no are relatable to readers, but these problems don’t speak deep into Christian living. As a personal preference, I prefer books that speak to bigger issues that Christians face today.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that this book was pretty fluffy, I can’t deny the fact that I enjoyed reading it. Paige’s voice is bright, cheerful, and often hilarious. If you want a book that will give you plenty to laugh about but nothing too deep, you will likely enjoy this first title in Mangum’s Paige Adler Series.

Get your copy from Amazon or at your local library!

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“The Legacy” by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

Summary

Doug has drifted further from his parents and his faith in the last few years. At college, he is pursuing a career in graphic design with a passion for graphic novels. Doug and his friend, Jason, plan to enter a contest with their collaborative project, though Doug seems more interested working on it than Jason who prefers parties and smoking pot. Then there’s Doug’s girlfriend, Courtney, complicating his relationship with his parents and the girl he used to confide in back home, Christina. As Doug continues to work on the graphic novel and maintains a relationship with a girl he doesn’t genuinely care about, Doug realizes he is living a double life and must choose which version of himself he wants to be.

The Pros

Because Doug is a college student, he encounters many issues facing young adults today, including drinking, drugs, and premarital sex. Authors Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley handle these complex and controversial subjects with wisdom and finesse, discussing both sides of these issues and never lapsing into graphic displays of the aforementioned behaviors.

With Doug’s interest in graphic novels, there are some interesting settings, including a Comic Convention where attendees are dressed up as various superheroes. The reader also gets insight into their graphic novel project which is an adaptation of the Biblical Prodigal Son story, mirroring Doug’s own path.

The Cons

While the idea of a modern “Prodigal Son” story is interesting, I was not engaged with the characters. The Legacy is the fourth novel of Walsh and Smalley’s Restoration Series, which leads me to believe the characters in this novel are better developed in previous installments. However, even if that is the case, the pace of the story was very slow, especially when I didn’t care about the characters.

Conclusion

While I applaud Walsh and Smalley on their discussion of issues facing young adults today, I felt disappointed that such a promising adaptation of a wonderful Bible story fell short.

If you’re looking for a light, predictable, easy read, this might be a good book for you.

You can get a copy of The Legacy from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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