“Book Review: Prosper”
Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth
An impactful tale of friendship, perseverance, and faith
This young adult novel features four friends: Amy, Stephanie, Kaila, and Jenny. Jenny lives with her father and brothers, since her mother is absent because of a tumultuous relationship with her father. Jenny attempts to make up for the attention she deserves through her flighty boyfriend Marco.
Meanwhile, Stephanie is trying to live a normal teen life taking care of her mother who is struggling with addiction. The only thing she wishes is for her mother to be present in her life. Kaila’s parents died in a terrible car accident, and she blames herself every day for it. She is the nurturer of the group, always looking after the others when she needs it the most.
Lastly, Amy’s always getting into trouble, but it is mostly due to issues at home. Her father is terribly abusive, and her mother can’t get him under control. Kaila encourages Amy to seek God for guidance on her troubles, and while Amy does not believe in any of it initially, some significant events come around to test her opinions.
Schuster sure knows how to write drama. With a premise like this, it’s ever-important for her to be able to tantalize us through the heavy plot. And she’s done it here. Not only that, but she establishes character arcs very well too. With every girl featured, you see their changes from beginning to end, especially with Amy and Jenny.
The author has a way of grabbing your emotions and rattling them. The teens go through excruciating challenges that they must overcome. There were moments I had to pause from reading and take a breath. It’s quite an emotional ride. But the girls are ready to face their obstacles head-on, searching for change.
The only drawback with Prosper is a lack of a clear, established unified goal between the characters. Are they trying to get into the same college despite all their issues? Merely survive high school? Since the book features Christian themes, are they trying to find their spirituality? The book transcends the likes of your typical high school drama with its strong execution, but I wouldn’t have minded a stronger connection between the girls.
Schuster’s Prosper is an emotional reminder that high school life is different for every single person in it. Reading what the girls have endured in Schuster’s book is enough to show there is more happening under the surface.
Young readers in the inspirational/spiritual community will be motivated after reading this book.
Category: Young Adult Christian Fiction
Paperback: 397 pages
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