here. If you're looking for a discussion of Longing, keep reading ...
After we texted back and forth about this book, my friend Kensy asked me if I was going to review it. I decided writing up my thoughts would be a good way to get some things off my chest. So, this will not be a traditional review; rather, it will be more of a response to the book. If you haven't yet read Longing and plan to at some point, STOP READING NOW!!!
I picked up Longing with mixed emotions. Yes, I wanted to read it, but I was afraid of where it would go. I have followed Bailey Flanigan ever since she was first introduced in Reunion
(the last book of the Redemption series), and for most of the books she's been in, I've wanted her to be with Cody Coleman. In Leaving, the first book of the Bailey Flanigan series, I changed my mind. I got sick of Cody's perpetual stupidity, and I decided that he didn't deserve her. Brandon Paul, the movie star pursuing Bailey, seemed absolutely perfect for her, and he obviously adored her. I was frustrated throughout most of the second book, Learning—because while I loved Bailey and Brandon together, I hated the thought of Cody moving on with Cheyenne, the fiancee of one of his Army buddies who was killed in Iraq. And, basically, I thought Cody was an idiot.
For about 1/2 of Longing, I remained firmly in the Bailey & Brandon camp. But then something changed—namely, the way Kingsbury chose to write the characters. Throughout the preceding books, Bailey and Cody were in love. Sometimes they were together, most of the time they weren't; through it all, though, they clearly loved each other. I was prepared for Bailey to realize that Cody had been her first love, but Brandon was her "forever" love. Instead, Bailey and Cody both came to the realization that they were more in love with the idea of the other than they were with the actual person. Excuse me??? That is most certainly not what was portrayed in the 16 books prior to this one. I felt cheated, and suddenly I wanted Bailey and Cody to prove Kingsbury wrong.
Also, while I never liked Cody and Cheyenne together, I felt it was too "easy" to kill her. (And I called it the second she had a headache in Learning. One thing I've appreciated about Kingsbury's books over the years is they're not as predictable as a lot of other inspirational fiction—but that move was completely predictable.)
Perhaps this has nothing to do with it, but in real life, Kingsbury's daughter Kelsey (Bailey on the covers and in the book trailers) is engaged to Kyle (Brandon on the covers and in the book trailers). I can't help but wonder if this is a case of art imitating life ... though I certainly hope not!
You may think it strange that I have such strong feelings about these characters, but that just goes to show how good of a writer Kingsbury is. I have followed this "world" since 2004, and I hate to think that these books may wrap up in a way I won't like. (Of course, just last month, I was afraid Kingsbury wouldn't do the very thing she's done, the thing I wanted. So it's totally plausible that I'll change my mind again and be incredibly happy with how this series turns out.)
As frustrated as I am with this series, I still anticipate Loving, which will be released next March. I only hope it ends in a way I'll like!
If you've read Longing, what are your thoughts? Are you Team Cody or Team Brandon? Are you frustrated with the back-and-forth?
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