For instance, right now I should either be folding clothes or grading quizzes for my online class. It's been a long and tiring day though, so I'm crashed here on the couch instead, waiting on the Braves to (hopefully) win this game so I can head to the bedroom with my book. I just feel like retreating for awhile, ignoring everything I don't feel like doing. I'll get over it soon I know, but for now, I'm pretty much being a slacker.
Sooo...how about I tell you what I've been reading lately in my effort to avoid household chores?
This is a YA (young adult) novel that deals with some pretty heavy topics--family tragedy, eating disorders, and searching for a seemingly distant God--without delving into the melodramatic or feeling too preachy, which is a common complaint I have about Christian fiction and some YA stories. I knew from reading the description that I would either love this book or hate it; thankfully, I pretty much loved it.
Finley is a young lady struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy and to find her direction in the world. She feels distant from God and overwhelmed in her own life. Finley hopes that in Ireland, retracing the steps her brother took years before, she will find the missing pieces to put her life back together.
I really enjoyed this novel and found it very appropriate for the targeted age group (teenagers, mostly). The romance between Finley and Beckett (the misunderstood movie star) develops slowly and believably, as does Finley's relationship with Mrs. Sweeney, an elderly woman Finley meets through a school project.
Writing in the dialect of both teenagers and the Irish must have been a tricky maneuver, but it is done well in this book. The brogue is not too thick or off-putting, and the teenage characters sound believable (for the most part) without being annoying. There are several opportunities for the author to get preachy about difficult life issues, but it never felt like she was trying to hard to make a point or uncover a deep "life lesson".
A few minor complaints:
(1) I would have liked to see more character development for Erin, Finley's "host sister". Erin is a present character in the story, but we only see her in a very superficial, one-sided portrayal...we get none of her thoughts or true character.
(2) There are hints of a scandal and a wild streak in Finley's recent past, but no details are revealed. I want to know the gossip!
(3) Will, the departed brother, is painted as a sort of saint. I just kept thinking, "CNN correspondent...really?" I think he was supposed to be around 23 when he died. I get that he did good things at a young age, but he could have been a bit more believable.
(4) Beckett is a likable character, and I like that we see why Finley is attracted to him. But vampire movies? He is pretty obviously a Robert Pattinson-type, but I would have liked to see him portrayed as just a teen-heartthrob actor, rather than throwing the vampires in there...it felt a little unnecessary.
(5) The characters speak in a dramatic tone at times, obviously written by an adult trying to sound like a mature, thoughtful teenager. Then again, teenagers DO sound very melodramatic at times, so it's kind of realistic, I suppose.
All in all, I found this book to be an enjoyable and emotional read, without being too depressing or gut-wrenching...which is not always the case when dealing with issues this book tackles. I will definitely be recommending it to my students in youth group.
**Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. There You'll Find Me will be available for purchase in October 2011.
Your turn! Tell me something you've read recently. And have you been to Ireland? It's always been on my list of places to visit, and reading this book makes me want to hop a plane and find a cute little village pub.