School has officially ended for the year, and I’m now juggling finishing a few review books and preparing for a trip that’s going to change my life and I am HYPED. Prayers for protection and wisdom as well as good weather would be greatly appreciated!
Let’s go ahead and jump into the review. When I read books I read for three things. Good, developed characters, an engaging and unique plot, and a setting written in a way where I feel immersed into the surroundings without getting bored at learning the color of every single curtain. It’s extremely rare to find a book that checks off all three boxes. This book was not one of them. But the setting aspect of Looking for Leroy definitely made me appreciate the utter skill the author had. Let’s take a closer look!
Leroy was something like a dry sea sponge. Kinda bland and rough, but he had a firmness to his character. He had a defined voice and was a unique character that didn’t blend into the others. He still felt a little stiff and more like a side to a main dish than a main character. He added to the story, but I didn’t connect with him personally.
Bryanna was interesting. She was older than my usual character diet, but very well written. Her behavior and thought process and the way that she responded to situations was definitely proper for her age (as far as I’m aware XD)
Gina, Luna, and Judith were icky. They made me mad. That made me glad. Because I like getting real life feelings from books. Even though the injustice was not fun. I also wish we got to hear more about Gina as she was an influential character at the beginning of the book, but eventually she faded into the background.
And Sophie. Sweet Sophie. I wish we got a book all about her. I want to hear how she met Garth and what makes her tick and what their home life dynamic is like. It was really unique getting to peak into their home through this story.
The plot was pretty good. I appreciated the new take on a lot of the older cliches. Having an older character changes the dynamic of a story, but that made it interesting. It felt a bit repetitive, that Bryanna kept going back and forth. And personally I felt like the chemistry between Leroy and Bryanna was a bit rushed, even if the sweetness and genuine interest was there. I would have spent a bit more time developing their curiosity and love for each other than having her ping pong.
BONUS: the “Christian Part”
Oh boy. Well. First time I wrote this review I had it down pat. So I’m gonna try and make sure I don’t miss anything. First off, it felt very subtle and unnecessary which, all things considered, is not right for a christian! Our Christianity should not be in the background or only there when we need someone to vent to. There was a point in the story where Bryanna says that she had prayed a whole three times in one day, and she wouldn’t really mind if that became a habit. That phrasing really bothered me because Jesus is not simply a habit one shouldn’t mind to have. He is a person we have a relationship with. There was no active pursuit. There should be burning hunger for Him! Also, there was no striving for the truth, not touch of Jesus in their lives. There was no church, no wholesome christian fellowship. There was no values or morals held to because of a biblical faith. And there was almost no Bible. The one place where a Bible story was mentioned, it felt out of context and almost misleading, and that bothered me because it seemed to be a critical motivator in the plot line. Honestly, it felt like a very lukewarm faith that meant nothing to the characters in the first place.
As a Christian, our faith should be the boldest thing about us. Our love for our God and our desire to please and obey Him should be the drive in our story. The redemption of a sinner saved by grace should never fade into the backdrop or disappear completely. Yes, we fail. We still live in a broken world with broken bodies and minds. But that is what grace was given to us for. And a story without grace is hard to fully enjoy.
BONUS #2: Da Vibez
The settings of this story were the highlight of the whole book. Everything felt real and alive and there. You could see the rich colors of the sunsets and feel the breeze blowing through your hair when you walked through the vineyard. You could smell the sunshine in the fresh linen sheets of the beautiful rustic cabin, and you could taste the grapes and feel the cool dark earth under your bare feet. It was incredible. What this book lacked for emotional feeling it made up for with our senses. I really enjoyed the feeling of freedom and hard work presented in a way that was not all hill billy cowboy. I don’t mind hillbilly cowboys. But I can definitely enjoy some romantical settings like this book had.
Also. Camper trailers. Summer trips of self discovery or re-discovery. I love that stuff to death.
This book was pretty clean! You find out early in the story that Bryanna is divorced because her husband cheated on her, and there is one sweet kiss at the end of the book, but otherwise there is nothing to mention. There was one spelling mistake and one grammar mistake that I noticed.
I’m keeping this book for my personal enjoyment when I want to revisit the vibe. Would I recommend this story to a friend? Probably not. Simply because there are so many richer, deeper stories with well developed characters and a Christian outlook that leaves you feeling a hunger for Christ instead of with a complacent attitude with Him as a background character in our lives. It wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t all that good.
Thanks for reading! I hope you learned something and it was useful, and I’ll see you again soon! Keep me in your prayers!
Thank you to the author and publisher for a free copy of this book. A positive review was not required and all opinions written here are my own.