Gilbert, Kelly Loy. Conviction. Hyperion: Los Angeles, 2015. Print.
image from: www.goodreads.com
I got this ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) at library conference this year. It was one of the first things I wanted to read from this year's haul. It sounded like a great story and was getting some good buzz on Twitter. However, after reading it, I was disappointed. I wanted a lot more from this book. There is a lot happening in this book, but it just didn't come together for me.
The story started great--there was a baseball connection (even though I found a pretty big error about the game on page 49). From the opening pages, I was ready and intrigued.
Braden Raynor plays baseball. When his dad, a radio personality, is arrested for a hate crime, the characters' stories begin to unfold. However, the dad's story is never really explained. I understand that the boy is the main character, but I needed more about the dad. The story dropped hints that there was more to him, yet at the end of the the book, he was still pretty one dimensional. He is mean, aggressive and drinks. His own dad committed suicide I wanted the dad's mystery explained. There are glimpses into who he is and what possibly (or actually) happened, but it seemed like there was more to say about him that wasn't.
(On a side note, I read this book shortly after watching American Crime Story, a story starring Felicity Huffman & Timothy Hutton, that centers on a hate crime. I thought the timing was ironic).
There was a lot of cussing and "f bombs" dropped in the story that was off-putting. Wasn't this supposed to be "Christian fiction?" There are many references to God's grace and faith, even a few scriptures used, but it often seemed either preachy or flippant.
Braden's older brother Trey came to stay with him while the dad was incarcerated. I wondered would he really give up his life to stay with a brother he hardly knows in the house he left years ago? This didn't seem believable to me. I guessed pretty early in the book that Trey was gay. This side story offered some mystery to the overall story. Why did Trey leave home? What was the relationship between Trey and his dad?
Oh, and then there's an absent mother who dismisses Braden when he finally meets her. Really? Did this even need to be in the story? It was almost like the author was forcing a story episode that could have been summarized (or omitted).
The ending of the book was disjointed and rushed. So, overall, I was disappointed in this read. Perhaps some corrections will happen before the actual book is published, but this won't be one I recommend.
One thing I learned from this book:
- There have only been 23 perfect games in MLB history. Honestly, I didn't realize that number was so low.