Summer & Books: An Unexpected Role

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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.

unexpectedrole

This book is guaranteed to make your summer last longer and feel more relaxing.


About the Book:

The devastation of a ruined summer. The gift of a second chance.
Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self?

After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.


Truly a summer read, this story takes place on a small island off the South Carolina coast. While the characters and mystery keep you turning the page, the beautiful setting descriptions will transport you.

Author Leslea Wahl shared with me how she creates such beautiful setting details:

“One summer when my kids were young, we went on a family vacation to the coast of South Carolina. I’d been to many beaches before but something about this place was so lovely and calming, it quickly became one of my favorite destinations.

“When I began writing An Unexpected Role and my character needed to get away from home, I thought about where I would want to escape to if I needed a peaceful place to re-examine my life, South Carolina immediately came to mind.

“I wish I could’ve gone back there under the guise of a research trip but sadly I had to rely on my memory. When I’m writing scenes describing scenery I close my eyes and envision being there. I try to focus on as many details as possible and then think about how my character would describe them. Since my main character Josie is quite theatrical, seeing life through her eyes was quite fun and the perfect chance to describe things in a unique way.” ~Leslea Wahl, author of An Unexpected Role.

I am happy to share a few of my favorite excerpts from the story:

We dock on the west side of the island amid tall sea grasses and sand dunes dotted with driftwood. I fight the urge to abandon my tennis shoes and run through the blanket of sand, letting it sift through my toes. We slowly drive by pastel-colored cottages with white trim that remind me of a box of saltwater taffy, welcoming us to the island. An elderly couple on their front porch swing wave as we go by. Neighbors chat over white picket fences. Children on their bikes try to keep up with us.  

We turn on to a beautiful street full of little shops. Striped awnings and lamp posts adorned with overflowing baskets of vibrant flowers line the street. Couples relax at cafe tables and happy families window-shop with ice cream cones in hand. Lily’s description of traveling back in time was spot on.

~from page 27 of An Unexpected Role.

Another favorite:

We start down the well-worn path that leads through the tall sea grasses to the narrow strip of beach. Kahlua scurries around the bushes, then in a blur of fur runs out to the ocean, splashing in the water as she chases something. I kick my sandals to the side and join her in the cool surf. The wet sand oozes up between my toes, my feet quickly buried. The beach is deserted except for an army of seagulls marching along the sand on pencil thin legs. Kahlua, dripping with ocean water, spies tiny crabs that skitter sideways across the sand. She pounces along as she tries to catch them.ocean-931776_1920.jpg

I move down the coast, mystically drawn toward the towering lighthouse, the gleaming white pinnacle having the opposite effect of its intended purpose. I’ve seen lighthouses before, on Lake Superior, but nothing as elegant and majestic as this one.   A sign kindly informs me I’m in Shipwreck Cove. The beach’s semicircle shape is surrounded by tall black cliffs; a wooden staircase leads up to the lighthouse. My eyes follow the large outcropping of unique rocks that juts out into the ocean at the southern end of the cove. I assume the town and marina must be on the other side of the natural barrier. 

~from pages 30-31 of An Unexpected Role

My Review:

I can’t believe I read An Unexpected Role in one day, but it was that good from beginning to end. I mean, this book is absolutely hilarious! For me, as a writer, I love that the main character’s mom is a writer! And poor Josie decides her mom is ruining her life because everyone at school thinks the embarrassing stories in the book are about her. More than anything, Josie wants an escape. And she gets one which has the potential to be everything a girl could want.

As the fun plot moves forward a mystery begins to develop, the tension really starts mounting. In addition to being fast-moving and at times hilarious, this novel has incredible descriptions. Since I read this (last year) as summer was dwindling down, I really appreciated the beautiful imagery, the beaches and ocean view. It let me hold onto summer for a wee bit longer. But this story is also filled with life-lessons that are totally relevant to young adults–well, to me too. This book is a fun and rewarding read!

Visit Leslea Wahl’s website and blog. Follow her on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also find her on Instagram:  Leslea_Wahl and Pinterest.

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.

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