Saturday, January 3, 2009

Book Reviews: Sweet Seasons Novels 1-3

Titles: Sweet Seasons Novels 1-3, The Summer of Cotton Candy, The Fall of Candy Corn, and The Winter of Candy Canes
Author: Debbie Viguie
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Christian
Rating: B

Abbreviated Summary (from the Back Flap): They're fun! They're quirky! They're Sweet Seasons--unlike any other girls' books you've ever read. You could call them alternative, God-honoring chick lit. Join Candace Thompson on a sweet, lighthearted, and honest romp through the friendships, romances, family, school, faith, and values that make a girl's life as full as it can be.

Review: A little while back I reviewed With This Ring, I'm Confused because I was looking to see how published authors did light-hearted stories that had characters with doses of morality; I did that book because I couldn't find any YA Christian literature. However, lucky for me, I was able to find this series (and another, The Carter House Girls series, that I'll review separately) that fits the YA Christian fiction bill.

These books were decent, I started to like the characters the further they went on--perhaps because this author is kind of new and maybe her writing is getting better each time. Whatever the cause, Candace (and her friends and boyfriend) became more likeable as time went on. What irritated me with this series though is the same issues I've had with Kristin Billerbeck (see the With this Ring... review linked above), Christian fiction is way too heavy-handed. If you want to make your message really clear, make it clear, but don't preach. I think the reason I find this so grating is because the target audience is very likely Christians, who could probably draw the conclusions themselves without having the author come right out and put in a little prayer. Call me crazy, but some times I like to actually have to think for myself when I'm reading.

That's not to say that when the final installment in the series, The Spring of Candy Apples, comes out in late February 2009, that I won't be picking it up. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, or I can't stand to not find out what school Candace ends up going to (although I'm pretty sure I could make a safe bet now), but I've got to close the loop on this series.

All in all, a decent series for young adult readers (I'd say maybe 14-17, any older than that and it might be too silly and saccharine). I gave it an B because, as I read the other YA series, I found that (even with its flaws), the Sweet Seasons series could have been worse. The B is probably relative.

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