Learning Paperback – Jun 19 2011
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About the Author
New York Times best-selling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist with over 20 million books in print. Her Life-Changing Fiction™ has produced multiple best sellers including Unlocked, Leaving, Take One, Between Sundays, Even Now, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, and Ever After, which was named the 2007 Christian Book of the Year. An award-winning author and newly published songwriter, Karen has several movies optioned for production, and her novel Like Dandelion Dust was made into a major motion picture and is now available on DVD. Karen is also a nationally known speaker with several women’s groups including Women of Faith. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Don, and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their daughter Kelsey is married to Christian artist Kyle Kupecky.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I flew through these books quickly. There wasn't a lot to stop and think about what I would do if in that situation. Either I've never been in that situation (pursued by an actor) or there weren't any true to life challenges to make me think. Bailey can't shake Cody from her thoughts. The only time she isn't thinking about him is when there is a substitute or distraction in Brandon. Brandon isn't in her thoughts unless she is caught up in his "energy." Bailey dwells on Cody. Brandon is more out of sight and out of mind.
Bailey is an irritating character at best. After being brow-beaten into believing that Bailey is a good-Christian girl with no faults, we are treated to her brief moments of "struggle" that end nearly as soon as they begin. Her anger at Cody is quickly diminished. Her guilt over her friend is over-ridden by Brandon coming to visit. People around her are envious because she is just so amazing. She's more Jamie Sullivan of A Walk To Remember than the girl down the pew from you on Sunday morning. Authors often times have a hard finding a balance between creating characters that are unique so that the world notices the difference between non-Christians and Christians or portraying them as the too perfect to be real Christians that the world despises.
Cody is perhaps the best example of a real Christian. We get into his head and see his struggles. We understand he doesn't want his life to touch the Flanigans and especially Bailey. However, perhaps there in lies the issue. Cody's imperfect life would be a blemish on the perfect Flanigans. Oh they love him for sure. But why doesn't he trust that they'd support and protect he and Bailey from his mother's addiction and boyfriend? Maybe there is the fault in why so many find Christians to be hypocritical. They are there and love when you when things are great or even not good but when things gets tough they are no where to be found. However, I cheer for Cody. He made a bad decision in not being honest so that there wasn't a chasm of silence between he and Bailey. He picked up though. Found purpose.
Brandon Paul is perhaps the largest contradiction in the book. He pursues Bailey with worldly possessions and experiences that money provides, yet he has become too perfect of a Christian. Where is the struggle he has with picking roles? Is he seeing them through fresh eyes? It isn't that I don't want to see Redemption for Brandon Paul (or the entertainment industry he represents) but you can't walk in two worlds or serve two masters. Dayne at least struggled more. Brandon didn't really ever shed his old self. Yes, the drugs, alcohol, and sex stopped. I'd have loved to see him attempt to court Bailey without out all the benefits of Hollywood.
I'd love to see Ashley and Landon receive a book of their own. Ashley's heartbreak was palpable. It was out of place though in a book about the story between Cody and Bailey and the childish love triangle that we were subjected to.
Overall, this books is a nice diversion but I'm anxious for the Bailey Flanigan series to come to an end. For Bailey to ride off into the sunset with her prince (whomever he may be at this point I don't care). I want to get back to the struggles of real Christians with real problems and deep relationships with Christ.
this book follows Bailey as she dances on Broadway and Brandon takes her out on amazing (unrealistic) dates; and Cody as he begins coaching a football team and grows closer to Cheyenne who has a hard road of rehab after a car accident.
I feel Bailey's character is not 'too perfect' as others have reviewed - i found her life is 'too perfect', but Bailey herself i found to be selfcentred and shallow. quite frankly she often acts like a spoiled brat. even her dream of dancing on Broadway and 'shining for God' seems rather selfcentred to me. how exactly is an ensemble dancer 'shining for God'? most in audience won't know anything about her, she hasn't been much help to her colleagues or friends and it's not like she's sacrificing to care for others or make His name known; it seems she needs the attention that comes from performing rather than doing anything for God or to help other people.
Through 2 whole books she is moaning about how Cody can't be her real friend or care about her because he hasn't contacted her (he did come to contact her and she as usual was with the movie star), yet she only tries to contact him once to give stuff back and when finding him beside his close friend in coma in hospital, does she offer care, support, prayer, encouragement? no, she focuses on her own selfish agenda again.
a reality check is probably needed here.
She has a large warm supportive loving family, is wealthy with money worries or need to support herself, living out her dream on Broadway,famous from her movie role, being courted by 'America's favourite movie star' - Cody on the other hand is a war veteran struggling with PTSD, previous addictions, a difficult childhood, mother in prison, left his home and support structures to be closer to his mum, has to earn his own living and his close friend in a coma from lifethreatening accident. He initially stayed away from Bailey due to threats which could have threatened her life. why did she not contact him and provide support during his difficulties? oh yes, she was making a movie, lots of popularity, money, media interest - no time for a friend in need... who is the one needing a friend and support here???? and who is not giving it???
i did find Cody's character development in this book better, although the turnaround in the team he coaches is a bit beyond belief. however, he at least exemplifies someone following God, struggling, but growing through the struggles and making choices to put others above himself and giving himself for the good of others. cheyenne too exemplifies some of this.
this is a disappointing series, too unrealistic, too focussed on fame/popularity and not appreciating real character, i won't be reading any more of it.
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.
This series has taken an idealistic approach to a Christian's struggle in everyday life. Bailey's family dynamics take on almost super-human qualities and they are always ready to dispense divinely inspired advice. Bailey's journey as a single Christian woman in search of love and her desire for fame on the Broadway stage at times seem at odds with one another and are compounded by numerous preachy moments. Inspirational messages should feel natural and flawlessly integrated into the story, but sometimes I felt like Bailey was pushing everything to be too spiritual to the point where it can alienate some readers.
Cody's storyline revolved around his success as a football coach and mentor to young boys. This plot line was heavy on the football and light on the romance. Cody and Bailey do not have any interactions with one another throughout the book, but both succumb to frequent Facebook stalking of each other's profiles. Consequently, both are aware of the other's new romantic relationships and have decided to move on with their lives in spite of their lingering love for one another. All the romantic elements in this book are very tame and appropriate for a younger audience.
I see this series as the introduction to Karen Kingsbury's body of work for the daughter's of her longtime fans. The story and the way it was written will appeal to the teen-young adult demographic, especially since a majority of the main character's interactions occur through Facebook and Skype.
**review copy provided by Zondervan**
P.S. my friends I am still Team Cody!!! This book will have you on your toes and may make some people look at another path but all I can say is get your copy today!! It is worth every PENNY!! xoxo
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