Thursday, April 5, 2012
A couple since their sophomore year, Sydney and Alex are looking forward to graduation and a bright future together. Sydney is straight-A student trying to decide between college scholarships and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve a mission.
Both active members of the LDS Church, their hopes and dreams painfully fade when they learn that Sydney is pregnant. The very foundations of their faith are shaken, as is their relationship. Separately, they venture through confusion, self-doubt, and failure as they learn the value of forgiveness and try to piece their broken lives back together.
Sydney and Alex are high school sweethearts anxious for graduation. When they discover that Sydney is pregnant, they realize that their future is likely to be very different than the one they originally imagined. How they come to terms with their faith, their relationship and that future is a very different journey for each of them.
The alternating perspectives were good and I liked the corresponding weeks of Sydney's pregnancy. It was nice to see where Sydney and Alex were as they worked through this. I do think Alex got off relatively easy in some regards, but perhaps that is often the case with the young woman bearing most of the burdens, physically as well as emotionally. The way Sydney was treated by friends and other church members was heartbreaking, but I suspect it was all too true as well.
I appreciated that the story also focuses more on Sydney's pregnancy and the effect it has on her life as well as Alex's, rather than the how or when she got pregnant. In that respect, it's a clean YA novel with a sensitively handled subject.
The ending was a little too neatly wrapped up, particularly after the hostility that Alex's mother showed toward Sydney. It would have been interesting to see that relationship explored further, especially given how the book ends.
While the story is obviously geared toward an LDS audience with many LDS-related references, it will appeal to those of any faith. Teen pregnancy isn't something that is limited to one particular faith or demographic. I think that this would be a great book for any teenager and it is one that could spark some good conversations between parents and teens.
Overall, a terrific debut novel and one I enjoyed. I look forward to more from Stephanie Worlton.
Thanks to the author for the opportunity to review her book. You can learn more about Stephanie Worlton here, including the backstory to Hope's Journey. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here. Stephanie is offering a fantastic giveaway of a signed copy of Hope's Journey and an Amazon gift card. You can enter the giveaway here.
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