Sometimes authors get too attached to their characters and keep writing them too long. I wondered if this might be the case when I saw that Kingsbury had come out with yet another Baxter-spinoff series. And as I read Learning, I kept thinking that we had read this before. Movie star courts small town girl? Check. Christian character struggles to represent faith in the godless entertainment industry? Check. Even the storyline with Landon and Ashley thinking that Landon might have a rare but deadly illness--check. Last time it was Ashley's AIDS scare, remember? And of course, more Cody/Bailey angst? Check.
As other reviewers have said, the Flanigans are too perfect. I struggled more though details that just seemed unbelievable, however. Brandon's courtship of Bailey is sweet, but something out of a fairy-tale. And again, too perfect. I've got a few one-in-a-million girls in my life, but none of them are being swept off their feet by movie stars who get them private viewings of the Empire State Building. Twice. It was nice in some ways to finally see Bailey struggle in this book, but her feeling of being out-of-her league on Broadway is something that Kingsbury tells rather than shows. Would a director this hard-nosed really let Bailey go so long under the impression that she's doing just fine? Would it not have been obvious during rehearsals? And despite her association with Brandon Paul, would producers really expect a new ensemble dancer to boost ticket sales? I could see it more if she had more of a spotlight role that would get her name on the marquee.
Despite all that, this is still a Kingsbury novel and still an enjoyable read. Kinsbury has a way of making readers care about her characters, and this is certainly stil true here. Kinsbury fans and probably most readers of Christian fiction will enjoy this book. And despite my feeling that she's recycling her plots, I'll probably still read the last two books in the series to see how Bailey and Cody what seems like will be the obvious ending. But this series is on my 'library' list, not my 'buy' list.