Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.
The Perfect Blindside by Leslea Wahl really takes you there. I recommend it as a fun summer read that can transport you from the summer heat and into an ice cold mystery!
About the Book:
Fresh off a championship medal, Jake Taylor’s parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far from where he wants to be. Smart and savvy, Sophie has spent the summer before her junior year of high school avidly following Jake Taylor in every article she can find, but now she sees the “truth” behind the story — he’s really just a jerk. When the only thing they can see is each other’s flaws, how can Jake and Sophie work together to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.
I love the cover of The Perfect Blindside, the shades of blue and the figure standing on the cool ice formation. Along with the great characters, this story has so many fun elements to it, including tunnels and mines. So I asked author Leslea Wahl about her research for this book.
Here’s her answer:
“Years ago, when the story of The Perfect Blindside suddenly popped into my head, it included a few things that my mind had been fascinated with for a long time:
- the life and sacrifices of a young Olympian
- the ultra-cool sport of halfpipe snowboarding
- and old abandoned gold mines
“Growing up in Colorado, where there are many old mining towns, the stories of the successes and heartbreaks during the Gold Rush days were always plentiful. When I was young, my parents loved to ski and camp so we spent a lot of time driving in the mountains. I was always fascinated by the mines that dotted the landscape, the decrepit wooden structures set into the mountain, and the silt of the ore trailing down in front of them. When visitors came we sometimes took them on tours of the mines. Those dark tunnels leading into the heart of the mountain were terrifying and intriguing at the same time.
“When I began writing my book, I had a little trouble with the mine scenes so my family indulged me and we went on a tour for some research. The tour included some amazing stories of daily life in the mines and tragic mine collapses. But my favorite part of the tour was when they took us to see one section of the mine that still looked like it had in the late 1800’s. You could see the chisel and pick ax marks in the rough stone walls, the holes where dynamite had been placed, as well as the old cart tracks. Seeing this place really helped me to envision my fictional Silver Springs Mine. Those sections of my story suddenly came to life in my head and made for an exciting backdrop for Jake and Sophie’s adventure.” ~Leslea Wahl, The Perfect Blindside
Leslea Wahl has made me jealous! I wish I could visit those mines. I also wish I could go on location to research my story settings. My work-in-progress takes place halfway across the country. I am using Google Maps Street View a lot –which is very fun!– but I’d love to be there and see it all for myself.
With mystery, well-developed characters, and light romance, The Perfect Blindside is a great teen read. Leslea Wahl’s writing style makes this a fast-paced story that is hard to put down, especially as the mystery and adventure unfolds. I enjoyed experiencing snowboarding with main character Jake. The sensory details are great! But I had never considered the effects of fame on a young person and the trials that go along with that. I also appreciated the natural way Sophie, the other main character, prayed and struggled with choices.
I especially loved the moral messages of using your gifts for the glory of God and of not jumping to conclusions about others. I can’t wait for Leslea Wahl’s next book.
Thanks for stopping by my blog, the first in the Summer & Books blogs! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.