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Sweetest Gift: Payton Skky, #4

Review

Sweetest Gift: Payton Skky, #4

Payton Skky's college life is off to a rocky start in SWEETEST GIFT, the fourth book in Stephanie Perry Moore's series. As Payton begins her first semester at the University of Georgia, she often feels lonely and isolated. She's not alone for long, though, as her two ever-present ex-boyfriends, Dakari Graham and Tad Taylor, are also attending college with her. They're unable to avoid one another, with both Dakari and Tad being members of the enormously popular football team. Once again, Payton finds herself conflicted by feelings for the two.

At the same time, she struggles to fit in, feeling as though she isn't accepted by either whites or blacks. The white community doesn't want to associate with her because she's black, while the black community is small and seemingly preoccupied with the superficial. This tension, along with the ongoing conflict with her exes, sends Payton into a state of depression. She finds herself failing classes, unable to keep up with fast-paced collegiate academics.

Her life is further complicated thanks to her roommate. Laurel Shadrach, a strong Christian like Payton, had the potential to be a great friend, but the two find they are not as compatible as they had once thought. Laurel likes to listen to (gasp!) country music and spends much of her time pledging for a predominately white sorority that makes Payton feel uncomfortable.

While Payton sulks alone, embittered with loneliness, jealously and resentment, an unexpected event sends her life spiraling out of control. However, it finally allows Payton to reassess her life and goals, and realize that she had been going to all the wrong places to seek comfort. In the midst of her struggles, she had forgotten the most important thing in her life --- her relationship with God.

SWEETEST GIFT is the longest, and perhaps most complex, book in the Payton Skky series. It is refreshing to finally see Payton in a new setting. Moore presents a very real portrait of a girl who once had it all and is now struggling to fit in a new place. Still, certain elements of the novel seem to be recycled from previous titles in the series. Most notably, Payton's conflict involving her ex-boyfriends has gone on far too long. She's made the important realization that Dakari is definitely the wrong guy for her at least four times thus far, yet she still continues to mess up other relationships because of her feelings for him. At this point, it would be nice to see her finally move on.

The devotion to one ever-present problem in previous books often led them to be slightly over the top and unbelievable. In this installment, though, Moore deals with a wide variety of issues --- including loneliness, depression, drinking, sex, relationships, school and racism --- on smaller levels. SWEETEST GIFT is a satisfying, thought-provoking read.

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Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby on October 18, 2011

Sweetest Gift: Payton Skky, #4
by Stephanie Perry Moore

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2001
  • Genres: Christian, Fiction
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Lift Every Voice
  • ISBN-10: 0802442390
  • ISBN-13: 9780802442390