Leaving by Karen Kingsbury

Leaving by Karen Kingsbury
Published by Zondervan on March 2011

"Characters from Kingsbury's Baxter family epic recur in the first of a new series about young actress Bailey Flanigan. Bailey, who has appeared in a film of Unlocked (a real novel by Kingsbury) and is awaiting a callback about her Broadway audition, has a problem: Hollywood hottie Brandon Paul, reformed bad boy and film co-star, is after her; star NFL rookie Matt Keagan is another potential interest. But Bailey really loves Cody Coleman, the regular-guy Iraq war veteran who abruptly left her. Ex-POW Cody is teaching and coaching at a rural high school, visiting his druggie mom in jail, and trying to forget Bailey, whom he left out of fear of his mother's unsavory connections. A parallel story involves firefighter Landon Blake, whose ground zero experience is affecting his health. Fans won't mind the self-promotional reference to Kingsbury's previous book as they enjoy the treacly confection of Hollywood and heroes the popular novelist offers. "

Let's start with what I liked about the book. It was a well written and engaging book. I enjoyed the characters and I thought the plot line was creative and believable. I liked the pace that she set for the book- especially knowing this was going to be a multi-book series.

What I wasn't a fan of. Well, it reminded me of the first time I watched the tv show One Tree Hill. It was engaging, entertaining, but by the end of the show- I still had no idea who anyone was. I felt like I missed a lot (and from not reading the Baxter series- I know I did). I wish she would have put some sort of 2 page summary in the beginning of the book explaining who everyone was. The other thing that really confused me.... what was the point of Landon's plotline? Are they even related? Why are there two seperate stories going on at the same time that are completely unrelated?

PS- I am glad the author toned down the self praise about Unlocked by the 3rd chapter. I get it was supposed to be tongue in cheek, but it was a little overdone.

So that is what I thought- not a good Kingsbury story to start with, but a decent read.

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