‘Leaving’: Book One in Karen Kingsbury’s New Adult Romance

December 1, 2011 8 Comments

‘Leaving’: Book One in Karen Kingsbury's New Adult Romance. A review of the 2010 novel. All review text is © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

STORY: Twenty-one-year-old Bailey Flannigan is ready to graduate from college but she isn’t sure what’s next. She’s grateful for her loving family and, recently pursuing her dreams when she starred in a movie next to Hollywood’s hottest heartthrob. But still, something is missing; a piece of her heart is broken beyond repair. Developing a close friendship with one of her father’s football players, Bailey and her family welcome Cody Coleman into their lives with open arms. But then, Cody walks away. A guy with a broken past, Cody walks away from their friendship without reason. This leaves Bailey with a kind of hole in her heart.

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Now, determined to follow dreams of being on Broadway, Bailey decides it is time to spread her wings… until friend and former co-star, Brandon Paul pursues Bailey’s heart, and regardless of her reservations, his gentle caring and genuine feelings for Bailey give her the push she needs to get to know the new Christian better, but is she going after her dreams or hiding from the loss of Cody? 


Review: I’m not a devoted fan of Kingsbury’s. I enjoy certain of her novels in the past, but each one tends to demonstrate some form of tragedy. I’ve read her beautiful “9/11 Series” but apart from that, I steer clear of the majority of her works. The character of Bailey already has a prior history or back-story in Karen’s novels, starting way back when the “Baxter Family” series. This book, the first in Bailey’s own series, has a little too much structure. Not only does this follow Bailey’s life but also Cody and a Baxter family member.

It seems really hard for Karen to break from the pattern of following first Bailey for a chapter (or two), then shift to Cody and finally, Ashley Baxter. For a series that should be about Bailey, this is a bit annoying. I wouldn’t want shifting locations within a chapter, but still it seems too much flip-flopping for this series. I want to read about Bailey and not characters who have been explored.

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As the reader, I love that Bailey is a young adult character. Most authors write about “older” characters (late-twenties to early thirties), so reading a novel with a leading heroine (and hero!) who is closer to my own age makes the experience rewarding. The writing is really simple without benefit too much detail. Nothing is exaggerated and it also doesn’t read too much like a fictional story. In fact, Leaving is probably a look straight into Karen’s own household; similarity to the Kingsbury’s life is quite obvious. Furthermore, I have to say, if this story goes the way I assume, let’s just say, I’m not going to be particularly fond of the conclusion to Bailey’s story.

Although I cannot say that this is the best book I’ve read, I enjoy that the heart of the story shines. Bailey and Brandon’s developing emotional relationship, both spiritually and personally is sweet; and Bailey’s beautiful faith never wavers even in times of trial. Leaving is a coming-of-age story that I’d recommend to almost anyone. Even though I don’t respect everything about the novel, it’s a charming read and I eagerly anticipate reading book two.  

About the book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2010
Source: Bought
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Series: Bailey Flannigan – Book 1
Genre: Christian Fiction, New Adult, Young Adult
Shop the Book: Amazon or shop the series | Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Rating: ★★★.5 out of 5

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Trinka December 1, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    But…. Eh, I'm not going to read the series. I mean, maybe when I'm {A LOT} older, I will. But the thing that made me decide that, is that you said there were THREE different people that the author narrated for. It just…well I find it kind of annoying when that happens in books. :P
    I mean, I LIKE it when there is the narration of the girl AND the boy she will eventually end up with, it's actually really cool, in my opinion. :)
    By the way, who DOES she end up with? Brandon or Caleb?
    Oh dear. Sorry for such a negative comment!

  • Sierra December 1, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Thanks for reviewing! Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful ♥ (Cause You Are!)

  • Rissi December 1, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Trinka – I did really enjoy this novel but that doesn't mean I didn't have "issues" with parts of it also. The story isn't told in first person, it just jumps around from Bailey and her family to Cody and then, Ashley Baxter.

    I am still reading the series, so I am not sure how it will all turn out – or who Bailey will end up with but I have a sneaking suspicion who it will be, and I'd rather it be the "other guy." ;D At the end of this novel, she is not with Cody, but she isn't really with Brandon either…

    You did not leave a negative comment, girl, you were just sharing your opinion – and that is what I want my readers to do. =) There is nothing wrong with not being interested in reading this book – perhaps it will interest once you are older and maybe it won't.

    Sierra – you are most welcome. =)

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com December 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Sounds cute enough. I've been wanting to try this one :)

  • Rissi December 2, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    I liked this one a lot, Juju. It did have things I'd have changed or written differently, and the writing style is very "simple," but nevertheless, it was sweet. =)

    Enjoy if you decide to pick it up.

  • Trinka December 2, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Rissi!!!!!!!!! You need to make a blog button!!!!!! Seriously!!!!! Haha, okay, well, you don't NEED to…but it would be cool if you could. :) I'm making a new page to put the blog buttons of all the people I follow, and well, something's just missing without yours! Okay, I just thought of something, if you don't know how, I can make one for you. Or you can design it and I can make it "into a blog button". Though, if you just don't WANT one…I'm fine with that too. :) I'll just put a link to your blog! :)

  • Rissi December 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Awww! Thanks, Trinka.

    I guess, I never set out to blog with the thought that I'd make a button… but I do know how. I spent about a week trying to figure out how the darn things worked – cannot stand that HTML coding! ;D Anyway, I learned how for a "new project" I am working on – hopefully it will be up and running early next year, but I make no promises. If you'd like to make a button (I don't know if I will get one made or not) to put on your page that is cool, otherwise, a link works just the same.

    Thank you so much for thinking of me and including me on your "blog button" page, girl! You have been – and are an awesome blogger "buddy." =)

  • […] to “review” the novels as a series instead of individually. I did mange post my thoughts on Leaving last year, so I won’t explore book one in depth. Be aware, I’ll try to avoid them, but there […]

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