When high school junior Melissa Keiser returns to her hometown of Anna Maria Island, Florida, she has one goal: hide from the bullies who had convinced her she was the ugliest girl in school. But when she is caught sneaking into a neighbor’s pool at night, everything changes. Something is different now that Melissa is sixteen, and the guys and popular girls who once made her life miserable have taken notice. When Melissa gets the chance to escape life in a house ruled by her mom’s latest boyfriend, she must choose where her loyalties lie between a long-time crush, a new friend, and her surfer brother who makes it impossible to forget her roots. Just as Melissa seems to achieve everything she ever wanted, she loses a loved one to suicide. Melissa must not only grieve for her loss, she must find the truth about the three boys who loved her and discover that joy sometimes comes from the most unexpected place of all.
A few weeks ago I sat at my computer and listened to the American Christian Fiction Carol Awards. When I heard the title of this one called for the YA category I knew I had to find out more about it (I love the title). Having a fifteen year old at home, I’m always searching for appropriate, clean fiction. So I quickly googled Nicole Quigley and prayed like crazy that she had a website. Yay, Nicole!! Not all authors do. Anyway, I read the above blurb, and then I promptly purchased the e-book.
Oh, my goodness!!!! Let me tell you, there is a reason this book won a Carol Award in its category. Quigley, was somehow able to get this not-so-young adult and step her into the mind of a seventeen year old girl. Everything was so realistic, and I quickly became invested in many of the characters’ lives. I bit my nails right along with Melissa, I laughed and I cried.
Quigley also laid out the gospel, not in a preachy sort of way, but in a very cool, down to earth way, not once but at least twice and she used Josh, Melissa’s cute neighbor, to portray Jesus’ sacrifice. This is definitely a book, as a mother and a reader, that I would highly recommend to my daughters and to their friends.
YA writers, if you want an example of great YA… here it is.