Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:
23) Buy spray paint. Read a romance involving a hero and/or heroine who works in the creative arts in some capacity – whether on the stage, the screen, the studio, the printed page, or the canvas..
For this part of the challenge, I chose to read an author who is new to me, and boy am I ever glad I did. Sarina Bowen’s The Accidentals, published in 2018, is a young adult novel which older teenagers and any adult would enjoy.
This story centers on Rachel Kress, a 17 year old, who has just lost her mother to cancer. Since her mother was a single parent and there are no other relatives who will take her in, Rachel is sent to a group home, which she will be discharged from in a few months, when she comes of age. Unbeknownst to Rachel, her caseworker reaches out to Rachel’s absent father, a famous singer-songwriter who Rachel has known about, but who has never been a part of her life, other than sending checks for her upkeep. Rachel has always wanted to meet Frederick Richards, or Freddy Ricks as he is known to the world, but her mother’s bitterness towards the man had kept Rachel from asking questions. Secretly, she has stored away any info she could find on him. Outwardly, she shares his passion for music, singing in choral groups at her school. In fact, she had hoped to continue to pursue her music at a prestigious, New England prep school during her senior year, where her mother attended and met Rachel’s father, a student at a local college.
Rachel is shocked when Freddy Ricks shows up at the group home and proceeds to try and gain custody. The development both delights her and yet leaves her with countless questions and a lot of anger. She is further dismayed when her new-found father decides to remain a bigger part of her life by moving from L.A. to New England in order to spend more time with the child he didn’t raise. Will this be Rachel’s opportunity to find out what really happened between her parents? Can she leave behind her old friend, who has feelings for her, or will the young man she’s been texting with at the prep school help her to finally trust in the opposite sex?
Since Bowen is new to me, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this warm and touching novel. The story is grounded in Rachel’s point of view. You feel her sorrow, her pain, and her loneliness. But, you also share her excitement and curiosity at learning about a parent she only knew through the press and celebrity blogs. However, rather than placing this young woman in an over-the-top, fantasy world of glitz and glamour, Bowen creates a believable environment of real, flawed, but well-meaning people who are trying to make the best of it. No one’s a saint in this book but no one’s a villain either. Furthermore, the supporting characters – Rachel’s two beaux and her new friends and family – are not props, but fully realized characters who don’t necessarily mean harm but have their own needs as well. All the while reading this book, I kept saying to myself how much I was loving it. I’d give it an A and will definitely look for more by this author.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 10 down, 8 to go