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.
A coming age story of first love, buried treasure, and discovering some things are worth the wait.
Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Astfalk
About the Book:
Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?
I love how, in addition to having descriptive scenes that appeal to all five senses, author Carolyn Astfalk often mentions songs in her books. She has created playlists for all of her stories. You can check out the playlist for Rightfully Ours by clicking here. And you will want to check out the book trailer too!
I asked Carolyn a few questions about music and her writing:
Do you listen to music while you write?
I don’t often listen to music while I write these days, mainly due to where and when I write. There’s already so much noise around me, that it would only further distract me. However, I wrote Rightfully Ours under different conditions, and I did listen to a lot of music. I still find that when I’m stuck, music helps me to capture the mood of a scene or a character’s feelings.
Do all of your books mention songs?
Yes, all of the published novels do. It’s generally a passing reference, a title, or a word or two. My early drafts included small passages of lyrics, but I replaced all of those with original lyrics in later drafts to avoid any copyright issues.
What elements do you think music adds to a story?
I think it helps set a mood for a scene. The type of music the characters are hearing can help establish the scene in a reader’s mind. For example, a restaurant playing country music has a completely different ambience than one playing classical music or jazz. If it’s a song that’s universally known or a cultural touchstone, it creates a sort of shorthand between the writer and the reader. Whether it’s a Christmas carol, an old hymn, or a patriotic song, music is so tied to memories that it can immediately help the reader draw significant associations.
Well-written and enjoyable, this story takes an honest look at the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of teens in a serious relationship. As Paul’s and Rachel’s feelings for each other grow, they confront new emotions and urges that they don’t always know how to deal with. Like every child raised Christian, they know what they are “supposed” to do but in some moments, they don’t understand “why.” Sometimes they are confused and make poor choices, but through all the temptations, challenges, and even failures, they both develop an understanding of the value of chastity. By the end of the story, they have a clear, solid, and mature grasp of its worth.
Rightfully Ours provides a thoughtful analysis of intimacy from a teen’s point of view, making it a great book especially for teens who struggle with sexual temptation and for parents who want a deeper consideration of the trials teens in love face.
While all the characters are realistic, Paul was my favorite. Rachel is fourteen when the story begins, and Paul is sixteen. He lost his mother as a child and has a father in the military. The story line surrounding this aspect had me considering what it must be like for the children of military men and women on active duty, and for those that have lost one or both parents. I found myself understanding more deeply and truly appreciating the sacrifice our service men and women make for our country.
I enjoyed watching Paul and Rachel’s friendship develop. At times, they misunderstand each other and jump to conclusions or wistfully wonder if the other feels the same way. They support each other and grow together while facing challenges and while embarking upon a “treasure hunt” in the flower garden. It all felt so real.
Mostly, I like the message of developing a strong conviction about waiting for marriage, rather than allowing oneself the temporary thrill of partaking in something that isn’t “rightfully ours.” I also like how the story tackles the real temptations and challenges a teen in a relationship could face, the behaviors that increase the trials, and those that safeguard from falling. This story has so much to offer.
Visit author Carolyn Astfalk and learn more about her and her books:
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.