A few months ago I read Porch Swing Girl, and it was such a fun book! Taylor Bennett allowed me to be a part of her launch team to pre-read the book and leave reviews, which was a big blessing! Thank you Taylor! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and wanted to share my thoughts about it with you today. I was not required to leave a review on my blog, but wanted to share to get the word out about this awesome new book!
~ Summary ~
“Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old
Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston
before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But
plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.
With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and
Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive
lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy
a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.
But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged.
Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to
help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted,
Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket
home. And time is running out.”
To be honest, when I started this book, it was a tad bit slow for the first couple of chapters. I thought, “This seems pretty boring, I hope it will pick up soon.” As I read on, and more characters were introduced and more things happened, I was more interested and started to really enjoy this book! It was well worth the read, and the slightly slow beginning.
The story starts with Olive, her sister, and her dad all in Hawaii with Olive’s grandma after the death of Olive’s mom. It starts in the middle of all the mess they are going through, and gradually shares more of what is going on in Olive’s life.
Her dad leaves her and her younger sister in Hawaii with their grandmother while he goes back to their home in Boston to sell the house. This makes Olive terribly afraid, which results in her trust in God diminishing and her attitude being rude. She desperately wants to get back home, but is unsure how.
A continual theme in this book is trusting in God, especially in unknown and difficult times. Olive learns, slowly but surely, how to trust in God again after the death of her mother. She struggles to understand why a loving God would allow this to happen to her, and wants to get back home to be with her father. However, she learns to have faith in God and enjoy where He has placed her, with the help of some true friends.
Olive makes friends with a girl named Jazz, as well as a guy named Brander (my personal favorite character ;)). It shows how sometimes we have to give up things for our friends, as well as how friends need to look out for one another. I really enjoyed reading this book and seeing the realistic and God-honoring friendships displayed.
This book was great overall. As I’ve said in other book reviews, I’m not really a big fiction person. For one thing, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to read fiction books. For another thing, I have a hard time finding Christian fiction for young women that is well-written, has a good plot and good characters, and also is focused on God. This book has all of those aspects wrapped up in one beautiful story.
When I pre-read this book, I didn’t realize that it was part of a series. As I was reading it, I found myself wondering if there would be another book, because I really hoped so! When later skipped and looked at the last page, I saw that there was a preview at the sequel! No joke, I was pretty happy to see that.
I definitely would recommend this book to teen/young adult girls. It was a great read!
Get Porch Swing Girl!
About the author:
Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of contemporary YA fiction. Homeschooled since kindergarten, she is a proud homebody who suffers from the rare–yet always severe–case of wanderlust.
Although she dreams of traveling to many different places, her favorite destination thus far (aside from her charming hometown in Oregon) is Lahaina, Hawaii. Taylor was so enamored with this tropical town that she became determined to write about it, hence her debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, the first in a series of books set in Hawaii.
A lover of literature since birth, Taylor found her love of writing fueled under the instruction of Andrew Pudewa and the other teachers at the Institute for Excellence in Writing, where she now works as an editor for their magazine.
When she isn’t writing, Taylor enjoys cooking, drawing, and taking long walks in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Check out Taylor’s website here!