I’m not exactly voracious when it comes to reading Christian YA. There’s a lot of potential to be cliche, and I’ll be honest: I was expecting a splash of cliche-ness in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy, by Stephanie Morrill. I did expect to enjoy them, but, you know. There was a bit of cliche-ness here and there.
To put it mildly, they way exceeded my expectations.
After partying hard lands Skylar in a sticky mess, she decides it may be time to take a second glance at her family’s old Christian habits. She’s gotten into big trouble, and some things have to change. But changing isn’t easy, and that’s what I appreciated most about this book. It wasn’t about Skylar deciding, “I am a bad person; I am going to get saved,” and miraculously be different. It’s about her making mistakes, and then making them again, and going back, and looking for forgiveness.
Another thing I appreciated was it didn’t address the audience as though they were unsaved. I mean, if a person isn’t a Christian, or doesn’t have a lot of Christian influences in their live, are they honestly going to be reading a YA Christian Contemporary? The audience was treated like Christians who need work in their lives. Because, let’s face it, we all do.
Also, humour. Skylar meets this guy, Conner, and he has a big family. The big family was perfect (I have a big family myself, so I know from experience). Skylar’s dysfunctional family as also super-realistic feeling and… the ‘family-side’ of this book was perfect. Totally made the book an absolute five-stars.
At the end of Me, Just Different, Skylar has a new love interest, and a lot of enemies to compensate. Instantly, the dynamics are sparky. There was a major love-interest-shuffle, and as a result, everyone is super in love with the new significant other, then super annoyed, then super in love. The book took me a while to get into, because I didn’t connect with the ‘I-hate-you-we-break-up-you-call-me-I-love-you’ element. (Conner! Open your eyes, boy!)
On the flip side, the family portrayal was still perfect, though I would’ve liked more of Conner’s family. I also loved Skylar still wasn’t an InstaChristian. She had her slip-ups, and she’s not perfect, which makes her a great character.
So Over It
By the third book, Skylar is done with school drama, family stress, jerky boyfriends, users, stereotypes at her recent ascendancy into aunt-hood, and the fact she can’t get rid of two things–(1) the guy she never wants to see again, and (2) her old life. She’s done. Over it. Hawaii looks great right now.
And when a holiday in Hawaii doesn’t quite go to plan, Skylar has to confront a lot of said life issues. This book had plenty of complex conflict, tons more dimensions of emotion, and I loved how So Over It, the last in the trilogy, wrapped everything up in a blanket of bittersweet-done-ness. (More sweet than bitter, but I’ll admit, I wanted to shoot one of the characters at the end. Jerk. I never thought I’d say that about him, too, which was both great and terrible.)
I also liked that it went into the psychology of Skylar-then (aka, pre deciding to rededicate her life to God). Skylar was a real party animal just before Book 1. And yet she was from a Christian family. So how did it all work out…? What twigged the change? What happened that night that rethought everything? I really enjoyed that the book walked through knee-deep eggshells with that much grace that nothing about her ‘old life’ was in the least ‘inappropriate’, and yet there was just enough details nothing was ‘unrealistic’, either.
So, in a nutshell, it’s an awesome trilogy, mainly about family, love, and the pitfalls of high school dating. I’d recommend it as a beautiful, untacky Christian read, and a very quick one. (I read the first book in two days, and the third in one day.) Thoroughly enjoyable, and four stars for the series as a whole!
Mime is thinking about chocolate again, which she seems to do a lot. She’s reading Cait’s book, and wishing she could write like that. Oh, and she drew Vanellope. (Though it’s only an iPod photo, not a scan. She needs to work out how to do that.) She just found out that X-Men: Days of the Future Past involves time travel and answers as to what happened after X-Men: Last Stand. She is highly excited.