Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Castles in the Sand by E.M. Tippets

Madison Lukas knows her place in the world. She’s not pretty, not interesting, and therefore easy to forget.

John Britton is serving his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and has been praying for fifteen years to find the sister he lost in his parents’ divorce. She is beautiful, talented, and makes kindness a fine art.

When John and Madison cross paths, he recognizes her at once, but Madison is certain that he’s got it all wrong. Even if she is his long-lost sister, she can’t possibly be the exceptional, amazing girl he thinks she is, can she?

I'm a little torn on my rating for Castles on the Sand. I started reading it late one afternoon and stayed up until almost 3:00 a.m. to finish it. While it definitely held my attention, I prefer a much happier story. Although this does have a happy ending, much of the story is dealing with some serious problems (neglect, abuse, mental illness, bullying, etc.), so there is a dark cloud (if you will) over most of the story.

I liked the main character, Madison. I believed her kindness, even to those who continually hurt her, but was really saddened by it, especially with everything Kailie did.

I struggled a bit with the situation with John (Madison's long-lost brother she never knew about). It was hard to believe that he'd recognize her after so much time (especially because she was only one-year-old when he last saw her). His comments about her being so beautiful seemed a bit much for a brother. But, I did like how protective he was of her, and that he provided some much needed support for her.

There's no sex, although it is talked about, and some make out scenes go pretty far. There's also quite a bit of sneaking around. You can't really blame Madison because her mother doesn't care, but I wouldn't be comfortable giving this to a teen to read.

I think this would be considered LDS fiction, although the religion plays a much smaller role than in other LDS fiction I've read. Also, the few feelings Madison has about it aren't really positive.

*I received a copy of Castles in the Sand in exchange for a review.