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Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite
Coming-of-age, inspirational, and Christian romance are genres blended perfectly in a tale of mystery in Leslea Wahl’s debut novel, The Perfect Blindside. The reader is introduced to two gifted teenagers, Jake and Sophie. Jake is a snowboarder with an Olympic Silver Medal, proud and adored by many his age, but his parents move him to a little town in Colorado, a move that he doesn’t welcome. Then there is Sophia, the honors student with a passion for photography and journalism, a girl with her own level of fame. She is opinionated and highly critical, a girl who has followed Jake’s story very closely. The two teenagers are very keen on seeing things that are negative in each other, with jealousy and the desire to appear “better than you” getting in their way of accepting each other and working together. But when their town is threatened and Jake’s reputation is about to be sullied, they have to learn to look beyond appearances and what they think of each other, and work together in trust to unveil what lurks in the secret tunnels.
A beautiful story that is wonderfully told, The Perfect Blindside is a huge success on several counts. First, I was captivated by the narrative voice which is strong. The shifts in POV, alternating between Jake and Sophie, are good, forcing the reader to get into the emotional level of the story. The first person narrative voice is compelling and it makes this tale an engrossing one. The author explores great themes in this work, including family dynamics, faith, love and friendship, and the thin line that separates reality from appearances. Leslea Wahl’s characters are real, well-developed, and memorable. This is a story that will entertain and inspire fans of young adult literature. Jake and Sophie are two magnetic characters that young readers will root for.