Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Destiny by Cindy Ray Hale

Destiny, by Cindy Ray Hale
2013, 316p, LDS, YA, Clean Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Won a copy

Destiny Clark, a young Mormon girl living in Tennessee, is wildly infatuated with Isaac Robinson, the headmaster's son at her Baptist high school. When they're cast together in the school's production of Les Misérables, Destiny is horrified to find that she has to be publicly humiliated by acting out her true feelings of rejection onstage.

As their rehearsals begin, Destiny realizes the unimaginable: Isaac has developed deep feelings for her despite their religious differences and the fact that he has a girlfriend.

But will they be able to find their place amongst the backbiters of their ultra-conservative world?

Weaving around Destiny and Isaac's alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les Misérables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.

The story switches back and forth between Destiny and Isaac. They're not friends at the beginning of the book. They both attend Bethel Baptist Academy, where Destiny is a sophomore and Isaac is a senior. Destiny and her brother Michael are the only Mormons at the school and Michael has lots of friends but Destiny only has one. The book starts with a school retreat where Destiny makes a new friend. 

We learn that Isaac is the student body president and has a beautiful girlfriend, Aspen, whom he adores. He's popular, good-looking and can have any girl he wants. He does have issues with Destiny and Michael and when he finds out who Destiny's new friend is, his best friend Will comes up with a plan to break up the new friendship. 

Being cast together in Les Mis comes later in the book and by that time, a lot has happened and Isaac is surprised to learn that Destiny isn't what he's believed her to be all these years.

This is a fun series that takes me back to my high school years. The excitement of new love, jealousy, friendships and secrets kept me turning the pages. I was iffy on Isaac at first. I thought he was realistic in the way he started out feeling. His description of his girlfriend, Aspen, and all she had been through and how he'd been there for her made her sympathetic and I had a hard time believing he would actually develop feelings for Destiny. He was conflicted at first and as he became more accepting of Destiny, his life got tough yet he was willing to do what it took to go with his heart. He grew on me and I liked him by the end.

Destiny starts out likable. She gets along with her family, they're active in church and she's a good girl. She has a huge crush on Isaac, who is a Baptist, but never actually believes she'll have a chance with him so she's not concerned with their religious differences. She has to endure ridicule and sometimes hatred from some students (but not all) who think she's chosen the wrong path in life and don't try to hide their disdain for her religion. Will Destiny and Isaac find a way to be together or will the adults in their lives make it too difficult? 

There are lots of other great characters, too, and I enjoyed each one of them. Destiny's brother, Michael, and his best friend Preston added a lot to the story and I really like both of them. Click here to meet the characters. Religion is a huge theme in this book, but I felt like it was explanatory rather than preachy. There is a lot in this book to digest and think about. I thought it was well written and interesting and once I started, it was hard to put it down. There's some kissing, too! It's clean and is a fun book to share with teenagers, yet still kept my interest as an adult. I'm excited to see where this series will go next!

Currently $.99 on Amazon!!

Book Trailer:

Cindy Ray Hale lives in Tennessee with her husband and four children. In addition to being a writer, she's an avid reader and a social media junkie. At the age of 17, she wrote a short story, "Instant Harmony" which later appeared in the April 2000 issue of "New Era," the official magazine for the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 


Alisa said...

I think I know what book I'm reading next! Thanks for the great review!

Katie W said...

Awesome review! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

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