Leslea Wahl is one of my fellow Catholic Writers Guild members, and I was thrilled when I won a copy of her award-winning YA novel The Perfect Blindside in a recent giveaway. Since the grad school spring semester has now winded down, I was able to delve into this book–and once I did, I was hooked. Leslea’s got a very engaging story here!
Author: Leslea Wahl
Genre: contemporary fiction
Age group: YA
Synopsis: Jake Taylor surprises everyone when he wins a silver medal in snowboarding at the Winter Olympics, but his parents aren’t thrilled at the sudden rush of attention their son is getting. Seeking a more normal high school experience for their son, Jake’s parents whisk him off to a small town in the mountains of Colorado–not too far from snowboarding training ground, but far enough away from the paparazzi. Most of the people in town are thrilled to have an Olympic silver medalist move in, but not honors student Sophie Metcalf. She’s got a theory about cute guys like Jake: they can’t be trusted because their good looks make it too easy for them to get what they want. But when trouble starts brewing in their small town in the form of slashed tires, rumored ghosts in old coal mines, and false accusations, the egotistical snowboarder and the judgmental honors student may just need to team up to uncover what’s really going on in this not-so-sleepy little town.
Leslea Wahl does an amazing job of making her characters realistic while still infusing faith into her story. I love the way she has Sophie pray throughout the book. Her prayers aren’t overly pious long epistles; they are quick, in-the-moment, down-to-earth (“Seriously, Jesus, help me shut my trap”) kind of prayers. Basically, the way I pray! 🙂
The pitfall in a lot of Christian fiction is to make the characters either holier-than-thou saints or really, really terrible sinners who suddenly do a 180. I enjoyed how Leslea gives her characters realistic flaws (you’d expect a boy who’d just won an Olympic silver medal to be a bit egotistical) and then let’s them have some character development without swinging the pendulum between sinner and saint too far or too fast.
Not only are the characters enjoyable, but the story line is very engaging as well. I’ll admit I kind of guessed what was going on fairly early in the story, but I think teens and their parents will still find this story to be a fun, fast read.
You can find The Perfect Blindside for purchase here.
You can learn more about Leslea Wahl and her writing in the following places:
Facebook AuthorPage: https://www.facebook.com/LesleaWahlbooks/