Monday, April 7, 2014

Book review: LEAP OF FAITH by Jamie Blair

This is not your typical, girl-gets-pregnant-and-moves-to-a-new-town-to-start-over book. There is a teenage girl, and she does move to a new town with an infant. BUT there's a twist: the baby is her sister, not her daughter. Faith stole her from their mother as they were about to leave the hospital, and now she's on the run.

Faith's mom is a drug addicted surrogate, carrying a baby for her dealer and his girlfriend. Faith can't stand the idea of the baby staying in the same type of toxic environment she herself has grown up in, so instead of pulling the car around to pick up her Mom at the hospital main door, she straps baby Addy in her carseat and takes off for Florida. After a struggle-filled trip, she meets a woman whose family wants to rent out the upper floor of their house. And coincidentally, the boy who lives on the main floor is awfully cute... :)

LEAP OF FAITH has been on my TBR list for a long time. The plot was original and doesn't shy away from the ugly struggles of a bad home life and single motherhood. The first half of the book was my favorite because I love gritty situations like that. I felt Faith's frustration when she struggled to find a place to live with the baby, almost getting kicked out of a motel because of baby Addy's crying. The second half of the story deals with Faith (or Leah, as she calls herself) worrying about getting caught by the police and having to lie to this new family she has become a part of. She especially doesn't want to lose Chris (the awfully cute guy I mentioned earlier), who has connected with baby Abby. Though I understood why she did it, I got a bit frustrated with Faith for lying to everyone and then hating herself for those lies.

I also wish we learned a little more about Chris as a character. We see a little bit of his backstory but I definitely wanted more about who he was before Faith came to town. His past is full of tragedy, and I would've liked to see that fleshed out more. The book is under 250 pages, and I think it could've been 30 pages longer without seeming too long. Especially at the end! The story is left a bit open-ended. As a short story writer, this is a technique I often use, but I seem to have an aversion to it in novels. When I've stuck with a character for 200, 300, 400 pages, I want to see some resolution, and Jamie Blair left a lot to the reader's imagination.

LEAP OF FAITH was a fun, quick read. I recommend it if you're looking for a story about love and family that doesn't follow the traditional YA romance mold.

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