Today I’m here with a review of a book not in my typical reading genre: Young Adult (YA for short). It’s Jenny B. Jones’ latest release, I’ll Be Yours. Sometimes it’s fun to read something a little tiny bit out of the norm. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I did!
This story is at the same time fun and serious, with a storyline that has unexpected intensity and characters you’ll fall in love with (or at least have a fictional crush on, no matter your age. Seriously.). If you’re familiar with Jenny, you know she has written under the Christian Fiction banner in the past. While this story may not be labeled as such, it’s a clean YA story with Christian morals (though not directly stated). So, fans of both genres will likely be pleased!
She’s the coach’s brilliant daughter, clueless about love. He’s the dethroned football star, ready to teach Romance 101. When dark secrets and sparks collide, there’s no playbook for what happens next.
The day Andrew Levin arrives at Washington High, Harper O’Malley knows he’ll make the perfect starter boyfriend. The school’s newest band geek is totally in Harper’s league, yet completely out of this late-bloomer’s reach. Between fitting in with a new family, scoring the first chair in band, and rescuing dogs for the local animal shelter, Harper’s never had the opportunity to hone her dating skills. But even though Harper’s love life is far from perfect, she’s got the perfect plan.
Harper knows she’s insane to agree to tutor Ridley Estes, a notorious heartbreaker and the star of her high school’s football team—but in exchange, he’s offered to school her in the game of love. Just when she sees promise with her crush, a football scandal rocks her family, her town, and Ridley’s entire future. Harper suddenly has everything to lose—her family, friends, and even her heart. When the dust of the scandal settles, nothing will be the same. Including the girl who asked the most popular jock to teach her about love.
This story has totally different conflict than a normal YA situation, I think. Instead of your typical awkward (or even rebellious) teenage scenario, these characters are in circumstances not of their choosing or influence. External forces have shaped and pushed Harper (and even Ridley) to cope and mature with wisdom. The arc of their story shows how reactions and choices can be made to be better, brave, and to accept the love offered them.
I liked the way the romance was gradually developed through the book. After the first few chapters, it’s obvious who the love interest for Harper will be. And the way that particular relationship started with a sweet friendship was pretty perfect.
Before you start thinking this story is all seriousness, let me say I really enjoyed Jenny’s sense of humor! She has a wry sense of humor that is 1 part sarcasm, 1 part fun, and 2 parts reality. She brings to light the humor in “everyday life” situations, making her characters feel real, normal, and sometimes gritty.
Beneath this story of finding a place to belong is an underlying theme of love as a choice. Choosing to love, even when a person does not return those feelings, is a choice to be both brave and vulnerable. But in that choice, peace can be found. This story is a call to be brave, with a cute first-love-romance that sometimes uses rescue dogs as metaphors :).
Thank you to Relz Author Support Services and Jenny B. Jones for the complimentary review copy in exchange for my honest review.