Friday, July 15, 2011

Limos, Lattes and My Life on the Fringe [Real Life]

I love the Real Life series by Nancy Rue, and book four is no exception. I even had to cheat and read the last chapter before I went to bed! Rue perfectly captures high school, and presents the gospel in an authentic, but non-threatening manner.

Limos, Lattes and My Life on the Fringe tells the story of Tyler, a smart, prickly, independent spirit. She doesn't think "not fitting in" bothers her, until the popular crowd nominates her for Prom Queen as a joke. When she decides to live up to her dad's ideals and change her high school, (starting with Prom), for the better, she is surprised neither her "fringe" friends nor her dad support her. However, she finds unlikely allies in cute, popular Patrick Sykes, and recently home schooled French immigrant, Valleri. Tyler also finds comfort in a strange, leather book that seems to read her thoughts and responds to her with modernized Bible stories.

Tyler's campaign to make Prom accessible and fun for everyone is beset by challenges on all sides. As if her dad's skepticism isn't enough, the principal doesn't support her, and neither do any of the groups at school. It takes Patrick's charisma and Valleri's prayers to pull off a fun dress exchange, a pre-Prom party with no alcohol, and corsages for everyone. Even with all this success, Prom itself is nearly ruined.

PLOT SPOILER: One of Tyler's "fringe" friends decides to kidnap Tyler, to save her from another outsider, determined to crash Prom. In the midst of the chaos, Valleri and Tyler are seriously injured and Yuri is apprehended with a paint ball gun full of red paint.

At the end of the day, the Real Life book, the faith of Valleri and her parents, and Patrick's encouragement keep Tyler strong. Tyler's example affects positive change in the school, and she decides to give the Real Life book to someone else who needs it.

At the end of the book, Rue explains how Real Life is actually a biblical paraphrase, like Eugene Peterson's Message Bible, and she includes a list of Scriptures used.

What I Like: Rue's characters are always complex, and have complicated situations to deal with. Tyler has to figure out how to handle all sorts of relationships, including a half-sister dealing with depression, cousins who don't understand her, friends who only like her if she meets their expectations, and her parents. Tyler is always getting in trouble for using a "tone" (something I can relate to).

I also like the gentle, but clear, approach Rue takes to presenting the gospel. It really is "good news" and although she never shies away from challenging teens, she also doesn't preach. These books are perfect for Christian girls to read, but they are equally good to give to non-Christians.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent!

Age Appeal: Young Adult (14-21)

Publisher Info: Zondervan, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-310-71487-3; Paperback, 240 pages, $9.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $8.19.


OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $9.99.

Special Info: View our reviews of other books by Nancy Rue here.

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3 comments:

Kathy C. said...

I just got signed copies for my daughters this past week at ICRS. haven't read it yet.

Bethany said...

Interesting. Thank you for posting your review.

Tanya said...

I agree: this is an excellent book! It features strong, well-written characters, a multi-faceted plot, a solid faith foundation, a respectful view of adults and Christians ... there is absolutely nothing not to like about it.

In addition to the positives listed in the review and the obviously solid biblical foundations, I especially appreciated the diversity of characters. It is rare to find solid Christian YA novels that feature African Americans as a main character rather than a sidekick. It is even more rare to see edifying, healthy interracial relationships. This book has both. The author left me wanting more of the series.

Thanks, Erin, for your review!