Book Review: "Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble" by Nancy Rue

Summary from Secrets? Bryn O'Connor is good at keeping secrets. But when a car accident reveals her boyfriend's abusive behavior, the truth is unleashed. And it starts a tidal wave of trouble in Bryn's life: enemies who were once friends, a restraining order violation, and her world unraveled. If that weren't enough, her grandmother Mim arrives, attempting Mexican cuisine and insisting that Bryn try surfing. It's all too much! Even Bryn's habit of daydreaming won't offer an escape this time. But could a mysterious book she found hold the secret to riding a tsunami like her life?

Nancy Rue's YA books are like a breath of fresh air in Christian young adult fiction. While there are several good CF YA authors already in place, her stories are not just fluff and romance. She takes serious subjects and puts it in a teen's perspective with situations and answering questions that no one else pays attention to.

This book does not shy away from realistic issues that teens face. I'm sure that there are probably some parents who will think that this book is too mature for their teens and while it is their right, I believe that learning about how to handle this kind of situation will benefit teens. Bryn has found herself in an abusive relationship with almost no one to turn to. Many teen girls are either in this kind of relationship currently or have had abusive boyfriend in the past but never told a single person. The story shows the helplessness, fear and shame that comes with being in this situation. The behavior that she has to put up with is unbearable and even though I don't condone physical abuse from both sides, I really wanted this guy to feel the same pain and agony that he put on Bryn.However, there is some hope for Bryn as she finds this in her new relationship with her grandmother, the new guy she meets, and surfing.

I was particularly excited that parts of the book took place in my hometown area of Virginia Beach. I love seeing places I know show up in books so it was a very nice surprise and Rue portrayed our area very nicely. And kudos for mentioning burritos!

Some might complain that this book is preachy due to the Christian overtones found in the overall story and in the book that Bryn finds. However, I am going to have to disagree with this. Yes, I read a lot of Christian books and am a practicing member of the faith. BUT for a young adult fiction book, this story features so much more than just religion. Bryn is obviously going through A LOT of emotions and is involved in a dangerous situation with no one to turn to and almost no help in sight. It's her choice to turn to her faith to put her trust in and the way that Rue handles it is not at all in your face or proselytizing type of way. Pretty much all I can say is a quote from 12 step programs: "Take what you like and leave the rest." Because what Rue says in this book is something that a lot of teen girls need to hear but no one ever tells them and you can choose what you want out of this book. HIGHLY recommended.

Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue is published by Zondervan (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the Real Life series that I've reviewed:

Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book (Book 1)


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