About the Book
Book title: Love Defined
Author: Leila Tualla
Release date: August 4, 2015
Genre: YA Christian Contemporary Romance
In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood…but learn they all still have some growing up to do. Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith. Raised a Catholic, Alex is considering becoming a member of her best friend Jack Page’s church—against her family’s wishes—but she can’t quite take the final step of baptism. Jack loves Alex and doesn’t understand her hesitation, and Alex wonders if Jack’s love is a blessing or a distraction to test her religious conviction. Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime. For her twenty-second birthday, Lori’s grandfather presents her with a summer vacation in England. While preparing for her adventure, she meets British musician Colin Watson online and quickly falls for him. They plan to hook up when she lands in London, but her grandfather forbids it. Due to complicated family dynamics, Lori must regretfully comply with his wishes, though she vows never to forgive him. Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places. When Andy runs into an old crush, she decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with sexy Miles Webber. But when she confides in Alex, her friend warns her Miles only wants her for sex. Andy becomes angry and devises a reckless plan to distract Alex’s attention from her relationship. Things don’t go quite as she expected, though, and Andy is left facing a crushing moral dilemma. As the summer unfolds, three young women learn love and faith go hand in hand, not everything is black and white, and sometimes in a fast-paced world you have to slow down, breathe a little, and find your own definition of love.
This is a hard hitting novel for older teens and college age readers. It is a realistic look at three young women navigating their journeys of faith in a world of recreational sex and quick hookups. Tualla explores the issues of friendship, what it really means to be a Christian, forgiveness, and more. Each of the three college students must face life transforming events. It was heartening to see how they stuck together and supported each other, even when the action of one was not approved by the others.
This may not be your typical young adult Christian novel. It deals with sexual issues, not hiding the sexual experiences of one of the characters. There is also swearing included, although it fits the character. Tualla has portrayed well the uncertainties in faith and relationships college students face.
I recommend this novel to college age readers who enjoy a realistic story of friendship in the midst of change. There will be many topics to think about and discuss with friends.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
Leila Tualla is a Filipino American writer, poet, and Christian author. She is a preeclampsia survivor and advocate, and blogs about “life after preeclampsia,” at www.tuallaleila.blogspot.com. After her second baby, Leila had postpartum depression. She is thankful that her family and those who supported her, stood with her and helped pull her out of her darkness. Her faith in Christ was, and continues to be, her daily lifeline. Leila is humbled daily by God’s saving grace. When she’s not writing about her preeclampsia or postpartum journey, or chasing after her tiny miracle bosses, she can also be found buried in books. Leila reads various novels throughout the year and her book reviews can be found at www.leilatualla.com.
Guest Post from Leila Tualla
In 2004, I was in college, and living with my 2 childhood best friends. College was FUN. But I can see where a lot of us stray, and get disillusioned about being a Christian. I journaled my hypocrisy. I cried over being pulled in two. On the one hand, I was in college, and wanted the college experience, and I was also your typical 20 yr old…I didn’t want to be an outcast, especially not by my friends. I also didn’t know what I wanted to be, or who I was. I started to chronicle my faith, and my bargaining, and pleading with a God that I questioned. My words became my conviction. The pages began to fill with my lack of fervor in my faith, the consequences and support of friendships…..somehow, I managed to write the basis for Love, Defined. In my ramblings, I shaped Alex, one of the main characters. She was a mix of the old me, questioning about faith, and devotion in our actions, but I wish I was as strong in her stance. She was the person I simultaneously wanted to be, and someone I wanted to shake.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.