Thanks to Covenant I get to feature Love, Sidelined by Tiffany Odekirk on the blog today. Make sure you enter the giveaway sponsored by them at the end of this post.
Jason is a college football player trying to keep his pre-mission lifestyle in the past. He tries to prove to his teammates, family, and self that he is a new person. Can he do that and keep playing football? Allie is a brave cheerleader trying to put her life back together after an assault. Finding a new faith saved her, but also broke her family apart. Does she have the strength to choose the path that will make her truly happy instead of the path that makes her feel safe?
I had a blast reading this book. Large portions of it are lighthearted and funny, but it also deals with some heavier themes. So, I bawled too. Totally, a roller-coaster ride book. It’s been forever since I’ve read a contemporary mormon-themed romance by a new author. They’re rare on the ground these days. So, I savored the experience as much as I could. These are the top four things I loved.
Seeing church changes reflected in the story
I think this is the first book I’ve read that has mentioned the new two-hour block schedule, which was fun and felt kind of historic. Maybe more historic than actually hearing it announced at General Conference. How can you measure the effect of a change until it starts showing up in a community’s literary culture? Right, I’m a nerd. Moving on.
The witty banter and jokes
Jason and Allie are hilarious together. They bring out each other’s best sense of humor and it was so much fun to read.
Favorite joke: “Every time I say Chemistry your nose crinkles up like I just said the word moist.”
In this scene, Jason has conned Allie into perusing a book titled 1000 Questions to Ask Before you Get Married.
“Pick a number so I can ask you a question,” I say.
“Fine. I chose six-hundred and sixty-six.”
“I’m going to try not to take that personally.”
Brava on the epigraphs
I loved what the author did with the Epigraphs in the book. The book is narrated in alternating chapters of first-person point of view. This can be incredibly challenging for the readers to keep the characters apart. I loved how the author created a different Epigraph motif for each character so the reader had that extra reminder whose chapter they were reading. Jason’s POV got definitions of football terms, which fit his character. The Epigraphs for Allie’s POV quoted letters from the missionary she was waiting for, Lincoln.
First, Lincoln’s quotes were so funny. Perfect, slice-of-life glimpses into the mission experience. Second, they gave the “dear john” character more permeance. If Lincoln’s going to be quoted at the beginning of each chapter, then he’s gonna be here for the long haul. How is the author going to get rid of him? Is she going to get rid of him? I was intrigued to see how Odekirk would write her way around this particular structural problem. The author solved this in the most perfect way. Really, well-done! I loved it!
Hard-won reconciliation sub-plots
I am loving on reconciliation stories this month, I guess. Sarah M. Eden released a novella this month with the same theme. Jason screwed up big with his younger brother and in his quest to put aside his past he needs to resolve his issues with him. Allie hurt her mom when she joined the church. In order to heal, she needs to be honest with her mom about what happened to her. I loved how both characters needed to reach out to their families in order to move forward in their challenges. Such a sweet part of the book and I loved how the stories mirrored each other even though the causes of the rifts were both extremely different.
The author was kind enough to answer a few questions about writing religious-themed literature. Check it out here! And please, remember to enter the giveaway below.a Rafflecopter giveaway