Review Detail

 
Stray Featured
Young Adult Indie
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Plot/Story 
 
4.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
3.0

Trust in the Face of Trouble

'Stray' by Joni Johnson has an interesting premise. When Lila finds out that her father is about to kick her out of the house on the eve of her last day of high school, she isn't quite sure how to react. Despite her father's lack of care of sensitivity toward her, she doesn't know anything other than the world in which she has lived for the last seven years since her mother left. Rather than despair, she tries to figure out what she might do to leave on her own, but before that becomes a possibility, her father decides to ship her off to a grandmother she doesn't even know. The only problem with these occurrences is that they are mostly known from the description of the book, and it makes everything leading up to it seem not quite as important.

When Lila finds herself stranded on the cross-country road trip to her grandmother's, there are many questions to ask, including whether her father meant to leave her. Even though this question is never fully answered, there are subtle hints to make readers believe that maybe he didn't. Yet the fact remains that Lila finds herself all alone, stranded at a gas station in the middle of who-knows-where, and the only person who comes to her aid is Vance, the gas station attendant and all around country boy who will most certainly find a way into Lila's heart.

Despite the predictability of all of these happenings, the story is still quite thought-provoking. As readers wonder what they would do if faced with a similar situation, they discover more of Lila's doubts about letting others in and sharing more than just half-truths, namely in terms of Vance and his mother, Vicki. Their kindness and loyalty to her after knowing her for less than 24 hours is admirable, even if it seems too good to be true. Yet it is nice to consider that truly good people do exist in this world and would help in just the way that Vance and Vicki do. Lila and Vance's attraction to each other, and lead up to their romantic entanglements, also forms a large part of the engagement factor with this novel.

Trouble looms ahead, though, in the form of Vance's former (and current) nemesis, Jimmy, along with Vance's ex-girlfriend, Mandy. Lila's dad, whether present or not, remains an antagonist throughout the novel as well, and Lila and Vance's similarly questioning natures even make them turn on themselves and each other from time to time.

Even though there were some grammatical issues throughout and a bit too much description at times that could have been cut short to get to more of the action, Lila's story will pull at readers' heartstrings and compel them to find ways to be more compassionate in their own lives by helping others who are struggling. The ending was also not quite what was expected, but kept with the sense of reality that Joni Johnson worked hard to portray throughout her writing. This is a story about courage in the face of adversity and how trust can be earned even if one believes it remains an impossibility.

Good Points
Lila's story will pull at readers' heartstrings and compel them to find ways to be more compassionate in their own lives by helping others who are struggling. It showcases courage in the face of adversity and how trust can be earned even if one believes it remains an impossibility.
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Nightbooks
A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Intoxic
When Alison Hayes walks into her storm-darkened trailer the afternoon...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
Ranch Hero
Kid lit with a comic book twist! This is a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Black and White Ball
In a lush and bountiful woodland, teeming with magnificent wildlife,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kai's summer changes when she gets a summer internship at...
 
0.0
 
4.3 (1)
Zoe is just your average teenage girl expecting another average,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Frango & Chicken
Some things seem impossible, but with the right attitude and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ruby Lane
Ruby is overexcited again, and her brain is spinning creative...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Girl Gone Ghost
A gripping psychological thriller. Inspired by a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice
A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Side by Side A Novel of Bonnie and Clyde
Texas: 1931. It’s the height of the Great Depression, and...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Voyage of the Dogs
SOS. Ship damaged. Human crew missing. We are...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Flying in a Cage
A song tugs inside me, like a string pulling...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Shorty & Clem Blast Off!
The energetic and zany duo Shorty and Clem are back,...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Bear's Spooky Book of Hidden Things: Halloween Seek-and-Find
If you want to keep kids happily busy for hours...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Nightbooks
 
5.0
"Alex describes himself as a kid who plays with "what ifs" while other kids are playing with dogs, and that..."
Intoxic
 
5.0
"This is strong writing from an author on the rise. Gallion's prose is a breath of fresh air. There is..."
 
4.3
"I can't wait to see where the next book goes!"
Sneaking Out
 
3.8
" ‘Sneaking Out’ is the first installment in the ‘Chase’ series. The setting is an elite New England..."
Bleeding Hearts
 
3.0
"The story: Nancy Miller is a poor, illiterate teenage girl scrounging out a meager living in Edinburgh. On the..."
All-American Liars
 
3.8
"'All-American Liars' by Emily Kazmierski shines a light on the lies people tell themselves and others to help save face..."
 
4.0
"A short and fun read. The story: Megera is in danger of having to leave her private school when..."
This Summer
 
4.0
"A sweet romance highlighting the fragile hearts of youth. The story: Hadley is determined to have a good summer..."
Emerge: The Heir (Immortals of Indriell Book 4)
 
5.0
"A shining star in a great series. The story: Picking up years after the last time we saw Allie..."
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice
 
4.0
"This is a collection of brief biographies of people who stood up and resisted injustices and tyranny. There's a little..."
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
 
5.0
"Mason Buttle can't read all that well. And he sweats a lot. And writing isn't something he can do either...."
Side by Side A Novel of Bonnie and Clyde
 
4.3
"Bonnie Parker is waiting for Clyde to be released from prison. It's 1931 and she wants him to come..."
Voyage of the Dogs
 
5.0
"The Laika is on mission Stepping Stone, traveling outside the solar system to set up a new planet. In addition..."
Shorty & Clem Blast Off!
 
4.5
"'Shorty & Clem Blast Off!' by Michael Slack is a cute addition to Shorty and Clem's adventures. The first book..."
Bear's Spooky Book of Hidden Things: Halloween Seek-and-Find
 
3.5
"'Bear's Spooky Book of Hidden Things' by Gergely Dudas is for anyone who loves books like 'Where's Waldo?' Even adults..."
Here to Stay
 
4.7
"Bijan Majidi does okay in high school-- he has a good friend, Sean, is on the basketball team, and while..."
Funny Kid #2: Stand Up
 
4.5
"After his attempts to run for class president in Funny Kid for President, Max has decided that his identity is..."
Hiding Lies
 
5.0
"HIDING LIES is the second installment in the Eleanor Ames series. It begins with Ellie and Miles saying goodbye since..."
Yellow Submarine
 
4.0
"Twice upon a time, once in 1968 and once today, there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland. In an elaboration..."
The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3)
 
5.0
"Apollo, now known as a human teenager named Lester, must restore five Oracles that have gone dark in order to..."