Tag Archives: Real Life

Tournaments, Cocoa, and One Wrong Move

23 Sep

Tournaments, Cocoa & One Wrong MoveNancy Rue

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2010

Paperback: 256 pages, and every one it flew by!

Book Blurb:

Everything seems to be going right for Cassidy Brewster—she’s the star of her high school basketball team, has a near-perfect GPA, and college recruiters are showing up at her games. But during the state tournament she injured herself, and her season appears to be over. With pressures at home and school, Cassidy turns desperate and makes choices that only increase the number of problems in her life. As Cassidy’s carefully controlled world falls apart, a mysterious book begins to speak to her, and it just might contain the answers Cassidy has been trying to find.

Stand alone or series: This is book three in the Real Life series. A series which I recommend for all teen girls and those who care about them. Though it is a part of a series, these are four stories of four separate girls and can be read in any order (maybe I should wait until I’ve read the last one to tell you that for certain) or as stand alones.

Why I read this book: Nancy Rue rocks! She hooked me on the first book in this series. Before I had finished Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book, I’d bought the next three. It’s definitely a choice I do not regret.


Cassidy’s life is all about control. She controls her skills, her team, and her body. Her father controls her. When she loses control and damages her knee, her world spins out of control.

Though you probably won’t notice while reading, however Nancy Rue has mastered the craft of structure. She builds and builds and builds the story, putting Cassidy through more than we thought possible, and then pushes her further.

In between the pages, you’ll find a cast of characters that you seen walking the halls of your high school. I remember girls like Kara, boys like Rafe, and other girls like Ruthie. I only wish I’d gotten to know those people as well as I know the incredible characters in this novel. The kids as well as the adults are vibrant and lovable, especially those who feel unloved. The kids learn to find their identity in a place greater than society’s labels. Which, as many of us know, is no easy feat.

This is a powerful story of a young girl who thinks she has it all together. It appears to her, her family, and the rest of the school, that she is perfect—the perfect player, the perfect student, the perfect daughter. Only when the veneer of perfection falls away is she free and open to discover Jesus and true perfection.

This book is for athletes, loners, perfectionists, lovers of chocolate, those who the world has written off as “losers,” and kids struggling to connect with parents who are disengaged or far too engaged. Really, this book is for everyone. Cassidy and her friends’ struggles and triumphs are a part of every stage of life, though they may come in different forms. Once again Rue has put heart and soul to paper.


Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble

20 May

Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of TroubleNancy Rue

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2010

Paperback: 219 pages

Book Blurb:

Secrets? Bryn O’Connor is good at keeping secrets. But when a car accident reveals her boyfriend’s abusive behavior, the truth is unleashed. And it starts a tidal wave of trouble in Bryn’s life: enemies who were once friends, a restraining order violation, and her world unraveled. If that weren’t enough, her grandmother Mim arrives, attempting Mexican cuisine and insisting that Bryn try surfing. It’s all too much! Even Bryn’s habit of daydreaming won’t offer an escape this time. But could a mysterious book she found hold the secret to riding a tsunami like her life?

Stand alone or series: It’s kind of both. This is book two in the Real Life series, however the novels follow the Real Life book (a mystical, physical book within the novel) instead of the girls. At the end of each novel the book is passed on to someone new and they are the person we see featured in the next book.

Why I read this book: I bought the rest of the series before I finished the first book because I really liked the characters, the writing style, and the problems she faced. I didn’t realize until I read the book two excerpt that it would be an entirely new set of characters and problems. The thought of reading about an abusive boyfriend made my stomach turn, but I’d bought it so I figured I should read it. I’m glad I did.


Bryn’s been covering for Preston—high school hunk, senior, and Olympic swim candidate—for weeks. But that ends the night of the crash. When nurses first discover the bruises Bryn swears she won’t tell, until they accuse her father. Then she lets the world know about her boyfriend’s possessive, controlling behavior and her world comes crashing down.

Suddenly, she’s the victim to her father, sister, the cops and doctors—an object to be pitied and treated like glass. To the rest of the school, controlled by Preston and his friends, she’s the liar and she must be broken at all costs. The only person who treats her like the beautiful, strong woman she is, is Mim—and Bryn does not trust her surf-school instructor grandmother.

While threats are flowing and the trial date is looming, Mim teaches Bryn to surf. At first the waves buffet and bully her just as her former friends are doing, then Bryn learns to ride and finds that maybe, with a little help from God, she can ride the waves in her life too.

I loved the twists and turns in this book. My heart broke for her, but that makes the satisfaction when she finds her strength all the sweeter. Mental and physical abuse from boyfriends and partners is a growing concern. I know I once was unable to understand how someone could let that happen, until it happened to someone close to me. This girl was smart, beautiful, incredible. And at first their relationship was all butterflies and roses. Then small problems began, forgivable issues because she loved him, she told herself. By the time the physical abuse started she was so deep into his way of thinking that she honestly believed she’d done something wrong, that she’d done something to deserve it. Bryn is much like my friend, she could be much like your friend or your daughter or you. What I love about this book is that it helps the reader to understand how to see the signs and how to recover. And it helps you find empathy for those who have gone through this terrible experience.

I’ve found the Real Life books to be educational about common issues facing teens as well as entertaining. This book is not only to be read if you or someone you know has suffered abuse. This book is for all girls. It is a story of strength and hope and love, inspirational to all.