Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Leave It To a YA Novel to Readjust My Eternal Focus - There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones/5 Stars
From the beginning, I knew that Finley was a hurting soul. Her life was in shambles--the death of a brother, a stint in therapy, a semi-public image tainted--and God had never felt more distant. On top of her personal turmoil, the stress she was under to complete a musical piece for a prestigious audition was intense. But then she meets a boy. And not just any boy, either. This one was Beckett Rush...THE hottest young movie star on the Hollywood scene. And the funny part? She couldn't be less interested in him, which threw him for a big-time loop. Gradually, they become friends, then more than friends, and he slowly starts to break down her walls. Before too long, each one of them realizes things that they'd rather not face, yet know if they don't, their lives won't go any direction but downhill.
I've said it before...I wish books like this had been available when I was in the young adult stage. I found this story to be so honest and real. It was not a book I could wrap in a box with a fancy bow. There was no fluff. Instead, it was a brilliantly told, coming-of-age story that I will never, ever forget. Yes, there was wit, sass and snark, but there was also pain, loss, and deep emotional hurt. I found myself laughing along with Finley as she verbally sparred with Beckett (considering he had met his match there), and on the flip side, reaching for the Kleenex when Finley succumbed to her lowest point and realized that God had been right by her side all along. She had just filled her life with so much noise that she couldn't hear God's voice. That was my "aha" moment right there because I have done that very thing more times than I can count. Like Finley, I think that if I can just do this one task, or wrap up this one commitment, or help this one person, I'll have accomplished something really great. It becomes all-consuming, and I lose sight of the things that are eternally important.
Leave it to a novel to bring my focus back where it needs to be. Thanks for that, Jenny. :o) Thanks for using all those editors and going through all those rough drafts (as you mentioned in your acknowledgments) to get this story just right.
Southern? No. Although Finley is from SC, none of the book is physically set in the South.
Sass? Absolutely! How many Jenny B. Jones books do you know of that don't have sass? :o)
Summary of There You'll Find Me:
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She's witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.
She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will's travel journal. It's the place he felt closest to God, and she's hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.
Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She's the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.
Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?
Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she's been looking for has been with her all along?
**Thanks to Thomas Nelson through NetGalley for providing a copy for review.