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Totally Free: Laurel Shadrach, #2

Review

Totally Free: Laurel Shadrach, #2

Well into her senior year of high school, Laurel Shadrach thought she finally had her life in order. Her new boyfriend, strong Christian Foster McDowell, was everything her ex, pretentious jock Branson Price, was not. However, in TOTALLY FREE, the second book in Stephanie Perry Moore's series, Laurel finds the actions of those around her quickly diverting her from the straight path she had hoped to be on.

As the book opens, Laurel is enjoying a Christmas phone call from Foster when she hears commotion downstairs. She is shocked to see her younger brother, Lance, lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Laurel quickly realizes that alcohol was the culprit. Lance had decided to sample everything from their grandfather's bar, and fell down on a broken glass. Laurel rushes him to the emergency room and hesitantly agrees to tell their parents a version of the story that will keep her brother out of trouble. However, as the book continues, Lance proceeds further down his destructive path of drinking. When Laurel realizes that he has also been spending thousands of dollars (which he does not even have) gambling on sporting events, she begins to recognize that she is actually harming her brother by continually covering for him.

To make matters worse, Laurel's eclectic circle of friends continues to give her headaches and test her faith. Although she has forgiven best friend Brittany for her romance with Branson, their relationship continues to be strained. However, Laurel finds that she must be a constant source of support when Brittany receives devastating news. Then there's her confusing relationship with Branson. Although she finds a spiritual companion in Foster, there is still a lingering attraction to her ex-boyfriend that she must contend with. As she comforts him while he waits for the results of a life-altering test, Foster becomes increasingly jealous. However, a tragic accident brings everything to light --- Lance's drinking problem and Laurel's true feelings. With these events giving her a new perspective on life, Laurel finally realizes who she is truly meant to be with.

Fans of Moore's fiction will greet TOTALLY FREE with much enthusiasm. From the first page to the last, it is chock full of the excitement that is a staple of her novels. By the same token, the book can seem at times a bit over the top. From car accidents to drinking binges, from AIDS scares to a school shooting, it perhaps packs in a bit too much drama, leaving the reader unable to focus on a single bigger issue. That said, TOTALLY FREE does a great job of addressing issues that other YA novels don't, such as a young teen's addiction to alcohol and gambling. All in all, it is an enjoyable read, with a surprise ending that will leave readers eager to get their hands on the next installment of the series.

Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby on July 1, 2002

Totally Free: Laurel Shadrach, #2
by Stephanie Perry Moore

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2002
  • Genres: Christian, Fiction
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • ISBN-10: 0802440363
  • ISBN-13: 9780802440365