Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Teen Girl Grows Up

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

Love Will Keep Us Together
By Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt

Love Will Keep Us Together is a curious name for this book. It reminds me of the love song by Captain and Tennille. But in this adolescent lit book, it’s not referring to a romantic relationship. The Miracle Girls are four best friends who have reached their senior year of high school and are looking toward life after graduation. They have been inseparable since freshman year, but now colleges in different locations beckon. The title implies that the book is about their struggle with the inevitable separation. In a way it is, but Riley, the main character, is in denial, and not only refuses to face the future, she pushes her friends away.

If you like adolescent lit, you will really enjoy this book. I raced through it, watching Riley make poor decisions while she faces a future she realizes is someone else’s dream. Although she seems to have it all – she’s popular, a straight A student, a cheerleader and a strong Christian – she reveals insecurities you would expect in a 17 year old. While she withdraws, her friends, and several caring adults, won’t let her go and in the end she finds a future she can look forward to. Of course, since it is a book for girls, there is also romance and the title may not just be about friendship.

The story is told by Riley in first person, and because she is so absorbed in her decisions and is pushing her friends away, she is the only character that really comes to life. There is one love interest that intrigued me, but we see him through her eyes as well. On the other hand, her voice is strong and the reader gets an authentic view of the world of a teenager. In spite of her self-absorption, her love for her family and friends motivates her.

I would recommend it to any girl who wants a light, but gripping, book to read.

Pros: Strong view of the struggles of an (almost) ordinary teenage girl. The action is fast paced enough to keep your interest, but the book is really about the confusing emotions of an emerging woman.

Cons: Everyone is almost too perfect. The characters are properly diverse, pretty and smart. Not too many teens quite fit this mold.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Will Keep Us Together

FaithWords (April 30, 2010)


Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt


ANNE DAYTON graduated from Princeton University and is earning her master's degree in English literature at New York University. She works for a New York publishing company and lives in Brooklyn.

MAY VANDERBILT graduated from Baylor University and went on to earn a master's degree in fiction from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in San Francisco, where she writes about food, fashion, and nightlife in the Bay Area.

Together, the two women are the authors of Miracle Girls series


Riley McGee has the whole world open before her. She could get into any college, major in any subject, become whoever she wants to be...But the truth is, Riley has no earthly idea what to do. She's paralyzed by indecision, afraid of the changes she faces, and as graduation day inches closer, it feels more and more like a threat.

Meanwhile, her autistic brother, Michael, is struggling to fit in at Marina Vista and stay on top of his classes. Riley tries to keep an eye out for him, but when Ms. Moore suggests pulling Michael out of school, Riley has to fight for her brother--and against her favorite teacher. And things take another turn when her ex-boyfriend, Tom, arrives, hoping to give their relationship one more try. On top of that, an ambitious new pastor makes her question everything she thought she knew about faith.

To read the first chapter of Love Will Keep Us Together, click HERE.

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