Book Review, Personality, Stories
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Book Review ~ Prodigal … Also, Author Scoop ~ Chatting Moments with Rektok Ross!

About the Book

Prodigal Book CoverIt was supposed to be Lexy Quinn’s year.

The hard-working wallflower has finally landed the coveted spot as Editor of her school’s newspaper. Then the rug is ripped out from under her when she finds out her mom is sick, and the family is moving half-way across the country to Preston Hills, Texas. Lexy can’t think of a worse place to be than at a school full of snobby rich kids where she’ll have to start all over to get people to notice her writing, or–who is she kidding?—notice her at all.

When the most swoon-worthy boy in town, who also happens to be the jock celebrity quarterback, gives her an exclusive interview, Lexy’s life takes an unexpected turn. Ash Preston is the perfect guy and, even better, he sees Lexy as she wants to be seen. But can she trust him?

PRODIGAL is a different kind of love story, where faith, romance, and God converge . . . and it just might change the way you look at your life.

Genre

Christian/YA Romance

My Rating

5 out of 5 (stars)

My Review

A very lovely read!

I enjoyed this book every step of the way. I’ve never really been much into YA genre, but Rektok is one of the two authors that recently turned me into a raving fan with this book.

This is a story about a girl—Lexy—whose life was turned around by simply moving across states and changing schools in her final year. It wasn’t hard to see that the laws that operated in her former life and environment were different than the ones in her new world, Texas. From being a girl who had only one friend to one who became part of the popular crowd, and the love interest of yes, the most popular guy in school, was something she didn’t expect or seek, but it happened.

Sounds typical, doesn’t it?

But no. There’s nothing typical about this story. Not in my opinion.

Lexy’s world consisted of drama, romance, friendships and fun activities, and amidst it all, each character had their own struggle. As it turns out, Ash and Blythe Preston, the most popular boy and girl at school, also brother and sister, were not whom they seemed to be. At least, not at first glance of the story. What they had to deal with was beyond what most teenagers can handle, and it made me understand their characters in the long run so much better, and even love them with their brokeness. I especially adored and applauded Blythe’s maturity and care for her brother, even though she often hid it behind a rather nasty attitude. I found myself wishing everyone had a happy ending, but from the story I can understand why that couldn’t be.

Aside from the lovely plot, characterization was splendid. You could see the personality of each character shining through. You got to know them better with each turn of a page, and the consistency was impressive.

I also love how Rektok tackled the ‘God’ factor questions, especially where Lexy was concerned. They weren’t complex at all, just simple enough to follow and comprehend. Also, it was good to see Rektok include Lexy’s family issues and how they affected her life in general.

The theme was well tucked in, and clear—true love is real. You can’t ignore it when it happens to you, you can’t force it when you don’t feel it for someone, and you can’t forcefully demand it from anyone either. Also, God is real, and He cares about your welfare far more than you know. And if you’re lost, He is definitely willing to find you.

I must admit though, I believe the book could have been better titled. I can see why the book was titled ‘Prodigal’, but my overall feel of the book sought a title more poignant. The story explored the characters not from the perspective of children who had wandered away and come back to the arms of a loving God, but from the perspective of people with private/secret struggles who had to learn to let go of the past, and love and forgive, despite the pain they’d inflicted on each other. This was the case in Lexy’s crowd and in her family. The ‘Prodigal’ factor therefore seemed more like the strong secondary bonus, than the main theme.

I have to say that Rektok Ross has successfully turned me into a fan of hers. I will definitely be looking out for more books by her.

* Although I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A thank you to Rektok for handing me a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

~ Author Scoop ~

And now dear friends, I’d like you to join Rektok and I below for a wonderful and intriguing chat. Have fun with us!

1. Hello Rektok! Thank you for joining us today. Please, could you tell us a bit about yourself? And is it coffee or tea?
A I’ve been writing Young Adult books professionally for about six or seven years now and love reading YA as well. In fact, I love it so much that I recently started covering trends in young adult literature for The Examiner. In a way, my foray into reporting has become a little of real life imitating art in that, the protagonist in my debut novel, “Prodigal,” is also an entertainment journalist. I also have my juris doctorate and still practice law as well. Besides reading and writing, my other loves include animals (I have an amazing white golden retriever named after one of my favorite childhood movies), Florida Gator sports, fashion, films, and of course, God. 
 
And tea all the way! I am a little bit of a health fanatic and love green tea.
 
2. Great! A little bit of our nature always spills into characters, doesn’t it? And oh, I love film and fashion too!
So, would you say your writing career is a calling, ministry?
AAbsolutely, in the sense that my stories are all about inspiring people to question what their lives are about and really take time to examine their beliefs. I love pop culture and reading for entertainment but I also think there should be a deeper purpose behind things and that’s what I try to marry together in my books — a fun read with a look at faith. But I never want to be preachy or tell people that they have to believe in one thing or another. I’m all about examining life truths for yourself.
3. I agree with you. Having a fun read that also gets you to think on God’s truth is always a fulfilling read for me, something I hope to offer my readers someday.
Now, how would you advise other writers who have heard a similar call from God (if it is)?
ADon’t ignore that call! God has given us all different gifts in life and we should share them with the world. Don’t wait — do it now! Life is too short for waiting. If God is telling you to stay home and write then do that! C.S. Lewis changed the lives of uncountable people with his writing (including mine). Maybe you will too!

4. I certainly hope to add value to the world not only through my blogging, but through fiction as well. Thank you for the boost! So, where did your inspiration for “Prodigal’ come from? And why that title?
AThe inspiration for “Prodigal” came from my own life experiences. I read a lot of books and I really enjoy romance but at the end of the day I usually walk away feeling empty, like I haven’t really learned anything or grown as a person. I feel like asking the tough questions– why we’re here and what’s our purpose—is something we should all be doing. Yet, there seems to be a lack of mainstream literature that helps us, and especially kids, answer these questions in a fun and accessible way.  So it was really intriguing to me to write a book that was fun and romantic but that also deals with spirituality and faith in a realistic way because its such a big part of so many peoples lives. You know, vampires and werewolves are fun and all but at the end of the day it’s just as crucial that we think about the real stuff too. 

The title itself, “Prodigal,” is a throw back to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which is one of the stories in the Bible and is one of the ultimate stories of redemption. My story is also a story of redemption in many ways. I wanted a title that was catchy but also had some biblical reference that would instantly invoke that imagery in those who knew the story.

5. I completely relate to reading a romance and walking away feeling empty. In fact, I recently wrote a post on that, titled, Why I Believe In Christian Fiction.

From my review of your book, you must have noticed I mentioned something about the title, ‘Prodigal’. Hearing your reason does clarify things.

Please tell us, what message did you hope to pass across to your audience with this story?

AI wanted to write a book that would be entertaining and fun but that would also make the reader really think about their life and what it is that they believe in. I want the book to challenge you, to make you think about your belief system and what your purpose in life is.

6. I‘d say you succeeded in doing that!

The character, Ash, struck me the most. What inspired you to create him with the struggles he had?

AI’m glad you were intrigued with Ash. I’m kind of partial to him myself! I think we all know an “Ash” at some point in our lives, someone who seems like they have it all but just can’t fully engage in life or commit to love and we can’t figure out why. I wanted to take that person and really explore the concept of “brokenness” in them and how they got to that place when on the surface they seem like they have it all together. 

7. Your words describe exactly how I felt about Ash. You’d probably noticed that from my review, yes?

So tell us, if your readers wanted to find you in the socialmediasphere, where are you most constant and available–facebook, twitter, goodreads?

AI am a Twitter addict! Seriously, I think I need professional help, LOL. I just love how accessible other people are on Twitter and how you can easily interact with fans and fellow authors and journalists. Honestly, when someone retweets or favorites me, it kind of makes my day. I am also  active on Facebook so you can find me there, as well as Goodreads and Instagram too (though less so). 

You can find me on Twitter @rektokross, Facebook at www.facebook.com/therektokross and Goodreads/Instagram both under Rektok Ross.

8. I totally get you on that twitter thing! My, I had to discipline myself to slow down.

So Rektok, aside from writing, has God placed another calling in your heart–music, painting, charity? How would you tie it to your writing career, or would you rather keep them separate?

AYes! Sometimes I think I have art-related ADD. I love film and even produced and directed a short with my brother. I also work with a local nonprofit to raise funds to award grants to indie filmmakers. I do hope to return to screenwriting and the production side –maybe working on a screen adaptation of one of my books.  I’m also into fashion and would love to do some fashion-inspired collaborations with my books and have talked to some of my designer friends about it so you never know what the future may hold there. Finally, I am a huge animal rights advocate and spend a lot of time working with local nonprofits and I’ve also done some lobbying at city-government level and some legal pro bono work. I’d really love to do even more so if there’s ever a chance to partner with groups like that I jump on it whether there’s a book tie-in or not. I will say this, my next book does have an animal element to it so I have already been thinking along those lines.

My goodness, you have been busy! Like I said before, I love film and fashion too! And I’m quite intrigued how you’ll collaborate fashion with your book. We’ll see what the future holds in that regard, yes? I would be such a delight! And thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your wonderful personality with us. I certainly had fun! 🙂

Folks, I know this is not a regular author picture, but I totally dig Rektok’s sense of humor! Enjoy getting to know her more below!

About the Author

Rektok RossRektok Ross is the bestselling author of the debut Young Adult novel “Prodigal.” Rektok is also the Official LA Young Adult Fiction Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/young-adult-fiction-in-los-angeles/rektok-ross. Rektok graduated college with a degree in journalism and currently practices entertainment law in between fiction writing and obsessing over all things YA. Rektok likes animals, a good underdog story, and dessert at every meal.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Traces of Mercy ~ Part Review | To Be A Person

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