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.‘Leaving’: Book One in Karen Kingsbury's New Adult Romance. #FWArchives #BookReview #Romance Click To Tweet
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?
LEAVING, BY KAREN KINGSBURY | BOOK REVIEW
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.
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.)
Publication Date: 2010
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