Series: Destiny Trilogy #1
on November 15, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Religious, Romance, Young Adult
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Destiny Clark, a young Mormon girl living in Tennessee, is wildly infatuated with Isaac Robinson, the headmaster's son at her Baptist high school. When they're cast together in the school's production of Les Misérables, Destiny is horrified to find that she has to be publicly humiliated by acting out her true feelings of rejection onstage.
As their rehearsals begin, Destiny realizes the unimaginable: Isaac has developed deep feelings for her despite their religious differences and the fact that he has a girlfriend.
But will they be able to find their place amongst the backbiters of their ultra-conservative world?
Weaving around Destiny and Isaac's alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les Misérables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.
I really enjoyed Destiny. It was a slightly difficult read because of my own religious beliefs, which I’ll get into a little bit later. But first, I’d like to say that Hale is a talented author, who writes deep and dynamic characters in VERY difficult situations. Most YA contemporary goes something like this:
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good YA Contemporary. They are fluffy and fun and sometimes heartbreaking, and ALWAYS full of drama. A lot of the drama is petty and silly and could be easily avoided. But in Destiny, the heart of the conflict is a very serious issue. It’s not predominantly between the kids at school. It’s not about an ex-girlfriend who’s jealous and causing problems. Those things happen, but really, this is how I felt about the conflict:
Destiny is so sweet, and she just wants to live a life pleasing to God and her parents, and she gets bullied and attacked because she’s a Mormon. She doesn’t do anything to anyone. She doesn’t push her beliefs on anyone, she answers questions honestly and kindly, and she does her best to follow her convictions. I admired her for that.
As I mentioned earlier, this was a hard read because of my own religious convictions. I’m a Christian, and while I have not studied the differences between Mormonism and Christianity in depth, I’ve heard plenty from both sides. I had a very easy time relating to both Destiny (Mormon) and Isaac (Baptist). I totally tracked with not dating someone outside your faith. I get how awkward it can be when someone who believes something different than you tries to convince you your beliefs are wrong. I’ve been in some of these situations, and they are HARD. Without getting into a theological argument (because that’s not the purpose of this review), I will say that it broke my heart to see the “Christians” in this book treating Destiny and her friends and family so hatefully. Just because they disagree with someone about something, even something as serious as a salvation argument, that doesn’t mean you beat the other side into submission. That’s the opposite of what we’re called to do. I hate that this is a common story dealing with crazy and legalistic “Christians”. When the adults started being HORRIBLE to Destiny, I wanted to be like
As an actress and singer, I greatly enjoyed the plot following Les Miserables (my favorite musical!) and Primus, the audition choir. All of these plot points were near and dear to my heart, as they are things I have experienced in my own life and love to participate in. It was incredibly easy to identify with Destiny and her love of singing.
It was interesting to see the story told through both Isaac and Destiny. Isaac goes from wanting to convert Destiny back to being a Baptist to merely wanting to get to know who she is and what she believes. And I thought that dynamic was nice. I liked that he came around to seeing that he wanted to love her for who she was; even if he does still want to ‘convert her away’ or whatever, the first step is caring about HER, not just seeing what’s wrong about her.
Isaac and Destiny were ADORABLE. They can hold their own with any YA Contemporary couple. I’m very excited to see where things go in the sequel.
You can watch the book trailer here:
And here’s an excerpt scene featuring Destiny and Isaac!
About the Author:
Wife. Mother. Writer. Cindy Ray Hale lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and four children. In addition to being a writer, she’s an avid reader and a social media junkie. She starts her morning by writing with a freshly-blended berry spinach smoothie next to her. She’s obsessed with Les Misérables, playing the piano, and stalking up-and-coming musicians on YouTube. Destiny is her first book and will be available for purchase November 2013.
You can find and contact Cindy here: