Friday, January 09, 2015

Sequel Not As Powerful As Predecessor, But Still Enjoyable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Just Call My Name, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, I'll Be There.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

With his violent, schizophrenic father behind bars, 17-year-old Sam Border can finally take a breath.  At long last, he can live the normal life he's always dreamed of.  It's a good life, too.  He's enrolled in school; dating sweet, pretty Emily Bell; and watching his autistic younger brother blossom under Emily's mother's care.  That's a Happily Ever After in Sam's book.  

Then, he meets Destiny Verbeck, a vivacious mystery girl who cashiers at a variety shop near the restaurant where Emily works.  Sam recognizes in Destiny a kindred spirit, someone who, like him, has lived a rougher life than Emily could possibly imagine.  The closer he gets to Destiny, the more distant he feels from Emily.  Sam doesn't want to lose her, but something in him refuses to believe someone as innocent and pure as Emily could really want someone like him

In the midst of their relationship trouble comes the last person either one of them expects to see outside a jail cell.  Clarence Border is out and looking for revenge.  Can anyone survive his deadly wrath?  Can Sam and Emily overcome all the odds stacked against them and finally be left in peace to pursue the love that keeps them glued together?  Or will they be torn apart by Clarence or Destiny or both?  

After reading (and loving) I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, I couldn't wait to dive into its sequel, Just Call My Name.  Even though the first book wrapped up to my satisfaction, I still wanted to check in on Sam, Riddle, and Emily.  That's how deeply they were lodged in my heart!  Just Call My Name starts off pretty tame.  The conflict with Destiny feels forced and gets really irritating really fast.  I was glad when the action picked up in the second half of the novel, perking up the story significantly.   The tense, adrenaline-fueled ending definitely made up for a slower beginning.  In the end, I didn't adore Just Call My Name like I did I'll Be There, but I did enjoy it.  If you like compelling heart-tuggers that are a little outside the norm, give these two books a go.  You won't regret it.

(Readalikes:  I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan; also reminds me a bit of The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson)  

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence/gore, and sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering about this one! I liked I'll Be There but I thought it wrapped things up enough that it didn't need a sequel.

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