It’s not easy being a preacher’s kid. Just ask Addison Blakely. The toughest thing about it is the whole pressure to be “perfect” thing. And Addison is certainly not perfect, especially when it comes to thoughts she’s been having about neighborhood “bad boy” Wes Keegan.
Besides the angelic reputation she feels she needs to maintain, Addison is dealing with normal teenage stress. Claire, the best friend she’s had since childhood, has suddenly morphed into someone she doesn’t recognize. Addison is thrown into the role of coordinator for the school talent show. Luke, a guy Addison thinks of as just a friend, all but confesses he’s in love with her. And, of course, there’s the confusion about her relationship with Wes. One minute he seems to really like her, and the next acts like he could care less. He does something remarkably sweet and thoughtful one day, and is an inconsiderate jerk the next. Addison’s emotions get a workout that leaves her mentally exhausted, yet undeniably weak in the knees.
"ADDISON BLAKELY: CONFESSIONS OF A PK is refreshingly honest. It’s one of the smartest, snappiest and relevant books I’ve read in a long time."
What makes it especially difficult is that Addison’s mother died when she was little. Her father does the best he can, but he’s a bit overprotective and not the most open guy on the planet, so Addison tends to keep things to herself. And now he is showing signs of wanting to date again, adding a whole new level of stress to the mix.
At least Addison has Marta, a foreign exchange student from Germany, who shares her faith and love for lattes. But Marta is more than just a good friend who listens to Addison’s problems and helps her with the talent show. Marta challenges Addison to think for herself, instead of adopting the beliefs she was raised with just because “she’s supposed to.”
ADDISON BLAKELY: CONFESSIONS OF A PK is refreshingly honest. It’s one of the smartest, snappiest and relevant books I’ve read in a long time. From the dialogue to Addison’s internal thoughts, author Betsy St. Amant does a fabulous job of creating relatable characters who jump from the page to the heart. This book does so much more than portray the life of a preacher’s kid. It portrays the life of a teenager: the struggles, the pressures, the worries, the thoughts, the thrills.
The storyline is fast-paced and entertaining, with plenty of laughs and a few tender moments as well. Lighthearted and fun, yet packed with heaps of food for thought, ADDISON BLAKELY offers a look at the choices teens are faced with every day. But it also deals with the consequences of those choices. Issues like bulimia, premarital sex, abuse, breaking the rules, and gossip are all subtly included in the storyline, but none are preachy or agenda-oriented. They are simply the things that teens from all walks of life regularly deal with in schools and churches everywhere. The message of Christianity is expertly and sensitively woven into the pages, and ultimately asks teens to consider owning their faith instead of perhaps riding on the coattails of their parents.
As far as my personal favorite young adult novels go, ADDISON BLAKELY: CONFESSIONS OF A PK tops my short list, due to the writing style of St. Amant and the overall storyline. For teens and/or the young-at-heart, this book delivers a fresh, enjoyable and relevant read with characters who stick with you long after the story ends.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on February 17, 2012