A few months ago, I heard about a website called Story Cartel. I could sign up to receive updates about books they had for review. There is no minimum books I have to review. I'm not forced to review books I don't like or am not interested in. It is totally my choice and I like that. I have had the chance to review some books through an invitation from the author. (Shawn Smucker, International Justice Mission, and Jeff Goins) Some I have chosen to review. (Death of the Modern Superhero and Wuthering Heights) And one other one, I have reviewed one other book from Story Cartel. (Bryan Allain). In all of the reviews I have done, I have genuinely enjoyed the non-fiction books from cover to cover. (Of course, Wuthering Heights is fiction.
However, Emily Bronte gained nothing by my review nor did she lose anything. So I'm not really counting it.) A few weeks ago I got an email about a new book from Story Cartel.
It was Roxy by PJ Reece.
The summary sounded interesting, but I was in the middle of a couple other books. So I passed. When I finished the other books I was reading, I came back to Roxy. I didn't see a "due date" listed, so I put in my address and waited for the email. It came and I started reading it.
To be honest, I wanted to dislike it.
Within a few pages, it didn't sound any different that so many others. Family curse, exotic location, long lost family member who is changing everything and just for good measure a teenage pregnancy. (That's on like page 10, so I can't call it a spoiler.) I really wanted to not like this story. I wanted to say it was just like all others and nothing special. But if I said that it would be a lie.
Because I started listening to Roxy.
Roxy is the 17 year old main character who travels to Greece on a family mission. Her voice is very authentic to a teenager. Sometimes she sounds so much older than her years and sometimes so much younger. The story is told very well from the first person perspective. Not once does the author slip in 'extra' information. The story is Roxy's story and the author stays out of it. The truth is discovered in a logical manner and the love interest is a gentleman. The story is not tied up in a nice bow at the end, but you are not left wondering about it either. It is does not simplify the story to a two or three sentence ending and a happily ever after. It also does not end so abruptly that we are left making up the ending. I did have to go back to see if it really ended and I hadn't missed anything. I didn't miss anything. It did end. And the more I think about the ending, the more I like it.
The main character and voice of the story are wonderfully done and likable. The ending is reasonable and respectful of the reader. The story comes to the reader and she doesn't have to go searching for it. It also doesn't rush at the reader like a linebacker in football either. It's a good story with good characters.
I liked it even though I didn't want to.