Author: L. Diane Wolfe
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Release: March 31, 2009
Series: Circle of Friends
Review: 2.5 Stars
I went into this book with hopes of putting out a four star review. Sadly, that was not the case. I forced myself to read this as fast as possible, mostly by skimming it. The book itself wasn't that bad, but I just couldn't stand it. All the characters were supportive and came through and took care of their issues in the end. The book was TOO happy. I get that it's meant to be a supportive book, but you can't have that without sacrifice and pain. Compared to other YA contemporary novels I've read, these characters all live a charmed life where just about everything goes right. The plot is see-through, if there even is one at all.
The main character is Lori. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Lori herself, but geez, her world seems too perfect. There's no character arc. From page one, she wants to win the gold medal in swimming in the Olympics, and it was easy to see where that was going. The relationship is instant, and her and the male protagonist Jason have kissed by the end of chapter one and are seriously dating by the end of chapter two. Her relationship literally faces no obstacles, despite what the description says. There are no fights, no breakups, no tension. Lori and her friends simply get putting along and life just gets better and better. I don't like (or maybe I do) when characters hurt, but this book needed some pain and suffering. Everyone I know has their issues and none of them seem to be present in any of these characters. The only character I'd say who has legit pain and suffering, for lack of a better term, is James.
The book was a fairly easy read once I started skimming it. I got two hundred pages in the amount of time it had taken me to get fifty. It might have helped that my mom had said if I don't read the book, I had to come out and weed the garden with her... Anyway! The book seems to have no plot. The characters don't develop and their situation hasn't changed. The characters feel one dimensional. Sure stuff happened, but it wasn't plot. It was like a chain of meaningless events, not an arc where the characters think everything's fine, then there's tension, then they face their fear or challenge, and then things resolve to a point. All the characters end happy with their happily ever after. While I love that things worked out, I feel the need to point out that the characters never seem to fully realize just how good they've got it and no one is left out in the rain. The book simply didn't feel real. I couldn't relate to the characters. Lori has been training for years, and when it comes down to it, gets what she wants. There are things I've been doing for a while, but I know I won't get first, second, or third try. If you have nothing else to read, pick this up and try it. You might like it more than I did. It's written somewhat bluntly, but to be fair this was the author's debut. If anyone reads or has read the book/series, let me know! I want to hear your opinion on it. But I can't find it in my heart to give this book more than 2.5 stars.
L. Diane Wolfe grew up in Salem, Oregon and began writing when she was thirteen. When she left home at 19, writing was put on the back burner as she moved around the United States, eventually settling in North Carolina with her husband. She now owns an online marketing company and is a professional photographer. She was inspired to return to writing by the adage that everyone needs 'something to hope for and someone to love'. Her series, "Circle of Friends", focuses on the pursuit of dreams and the overcoming of obstacles. The stories intertwine as the characters learn that with belief and encouragement, they can achieve anything. A Christian and a vegetarian, Diane enjoys sports, reading and traveling. She is a thrill-seeker with a passion for roller coasters. Her optimism lends itself well to her spunky, Sanguine personality. "With a positive attitude, anygoal can be achieved!"
You Can Find Her At:
Driven by Olympic dreams!
To the outside world, Lori Anders has it all. The only child of affluent parents, she is a gifted swimmer with Olympic dreams. Armed with a winning attitude and genuine spirit, Lori appears destined for success.
Yet despite her certainty in the pool, something inhibits Lori from achieving her full potential. Her focus on swimming has left little time for relationships. Lacking in confidence, Lori's light has few opportunities to shine.
When an altercation with the school bullies brings her to the attention of the star quarterback, Lori finds herself in a unique position. Jason's affections renew her hope and force the shy swimmer out of her comfort zone. But, will it be enough to achieve her lifelong dream?
Described as "encouragement personified", Wolfe's five-book Southern-based series portrays love and friendship overcoming all obstacles.
You Can Find the Book: