Book Review: "Swept Away" by Nicole O'Dell

Summary from What would YOU do if you had to make a life altering decision? Would you stand your ground and choose a path that follows your belief? Or would you give in to peer pressure to avoid rejection? With this 2 in 1 book you are given the opportunity to do just that. In High Stakes, Amber and Brittany are best friends but now they're in competition with each other. Whoever has the best grades and perfect attendance is able to win a brand new car! Amber wants to win so badly, especially since her father got laid off and money has been really tight. But when Amber cheats on a test and Brittany gets blamed for it, will Amber own up to it or let Brittany take the fall? You decide and discover the life-altering consequences.

In Essence of Lilly, Lilly will do anything to avoid being at him, including making up youth group events to hang out with her boyfriend Jason. But when Jason wants her to lie to her parents about an overnight church retreat so she can stay over his house without a chaperone, what will she do? You decide the course-make the wrong decision and discover the life-changing consequence that comes with it.

This book combines the last two books in Nicole O'Dell's Scenarios series where readers choose which path the heroine will end up taking.

In the first story, "High Stakes" the focus is on Amber who is a senior in high school. She's focusing on finishing up her last year in school so she can go off to college, hopefully with her best friend (and academic rival Brittany). Amber also struggles with the fact that her family is not well off and compared to her rich friend, she feels very inferior. The story deals with the struggles that teens face to maintain high standards both in life and in school. One thing I was very pleased to see is that Brittany and her family are Asian American, yet O'Dell does not show her family in a stereotypical way at all. Yes it's mentioned that Brittany is small or her parents have a slight accent but that's just observances, not stereotyping.

The second story deals with the consequences of teenage sex. Lilly is going through a rough time with her family and turns to her boyfriend for comfort. She has to make the decision if she's going to let things go further than what she's ready for. I found her attitude to be perfectly balanced between worried about her parents and then finding rescue with her boyfriend.

If there's anything at all that bugged me, it was the sudden change of the male figures in this story. Stan does a complete 180 from mean guy to nice guy and around the same time, Jason goes from nice guy to sex crazed hormones. It just seemed a bit extreme at the change for me, especially with Jason. He showed no hints at all before and then all of a sudden he doesn't want to go to church, lies and tries to get Lilly to do things that she's not comfortable with. I also wouldn't trust Stan and it sadden me a bit that the youth group leader doesn't ask Lilly about her relationship with her parents.

This books are aimed at a Christian audience as evident by the language and actions done by the characters. I feel like this book is probably best for the 14-15 year age group. While there are situations involving older teens, I don't think they would be interested in it as the younger age group would be. I, myself, still enjoyed reading the stories and seeing the different scenarios (though I felt that it would have been more fun if things didn't eventually resolve) play out. For the most part, I feel that O'Dell has represented this girls realistically and I think that the age group intended for will enjoy reading them and making the right decision.

Swept Away by Nicole O'Dell is published by Barbour (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other book sin the Scenaris series that I have reviewed:

Truth or Dare by Nicole O'Dell (Book 1)
All That Glitters by Nicole O'Dell (Book 2)
Magna by Nicole O'Dell (Book 3)
Making Waves by Nicole O'Dell (Book 4)

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publisher. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to US entrants only. Winner will be picked Thursday September 22.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.


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