The Perfect Blindside

Young Adult - Mystery
265 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2017
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Author Biography

Leslea lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and three children. Their own life of adventure includes traveling, skiing, and scuba diving. Leslea strives to write fiction that will inspire readers to use their own talents and gifts to glorify God.

    Book Review

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.

Susan Peek

There's very few books I'll sacrifice an entire night's sleep to finish reading, but The Perfect Blindside is one of them. From the very first paragraph, I was hooked. I mean, seriously, how can you put down a story that starts with: "I have a theory. Every person I've ever met in the past year fits into one of three categories.They're either Walkers, Talkers, or Stalkers." That chapter, by the way, is told from the viewpoint of sixteen-year-old Jake Taylor, who has just won the Olympic Silver Medal in snowboarding. Needless to say, it's gone to his head. He's arrogantly basking in his newfound fame and life has become little more than signing autographs and being gawked at with awe and admiration by everyone he meets.

Well, almost everyone, that is.

Enter Sophie Metcalf, a girl at Jake's new high school. (The chapters alternate between Jake's and Sophie's viewpoints throughout.) While Sophie, along with every other girl in the world, developed a hopeless crush on the handsome snowboarding champion during the Olympic games,having the Silver Medalist suddenly move to her tiny Colorado town and attend her school is not at all what she thought it would be. In fact, she sees the real Jake Taylor as a selfish, stuck-up jerk. She judges him harshly and avoids him at all costs. Yet deep inside, she still struggles with an incredible attraction for him.

Meanwhile, Jake can't figure out why she seems to hate him. After all, every other girl in the town is all over him like a rash. Cheerleaders vie for his attention; even gorgeous young movie stars that he meets at publicity events hang on his every word and move. He is even voted Athlete of the Year. So why does Sophie Metcalf treat him like he's a creep? He can't figure it out, and although he won't admit it to himself, he's falling head over heels for her.

To make things worse, some unknown enemy is gunning for him, trying to ruin his snowboarding career by framing him for drug dealing. Before long, not only Jake's Olympic stardom, but his very life, is in grave danger. And . . . you guessed it . . . sweet Sophie Metcalf is the only one who can help him out. But I won't say more for fear of spoiling this fantastic book.

Leslea Wahl delves into the minds, emotions, and hearts of modern teens in a way few authors can even hope to do. She uses all the perfect slang, expressions, and feelings that today's teenagers will instantly relate to. By the end of the book I was totally in love with her characters! So many passages were so well written that I read them several times just for the pure delight. More than once I laughed out loud (which merited me funny looks when I was reading it in the doctor's waiting room...). The author not only made me laugh, but she managed to bring tears to my eyes too at some of the more serious parts. Once or twice I had to reach for the kleenex box. When an author can achieve both of these things, wow, she certainly knows how to write!

I truly can't say how much I loved this story. I hope the author writes more soon. She is definitely a writer to keep an eye on.

Cynthia Toney

This is an engaging story for both teen boys and girls. As an adult, I also enjoyed reading it. It's a good mix of action, adventure, family drama, and innocent romance. As long as a reader goes into it knowing that it's not simply a story about the snowboarding sport, this book has a lot to offer him or her. The writing is very good. The Perfect Blindside contains mild faith elements and some mild violence.