A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review Wednesday: Unbroken Connection

Sometimes a story haunts and you can't let go. That's how I felt when I read TAKEN BY STORM, debut novel, by Angela Morrison, (Razorbill, 2009). The ending was satisfying, but the more I thought about it, the more it felt like there should be, or at least there could be more to the story. Since Angela is my sister-in-law, I asked her about it. I was thrilled to find out that there was more to the story. I was even more thrilled when she let me see a sneak peak of the story as she was finishing the final draft the sequel to TAKEN BY STORM, UNBROKEN CONNECTION.

A little back story...TAKEN BY STORM (the first book in the series) is the story of Michael, a seventeen-year-old player and avid diver, and Leesie, a devout Mormon, (Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints) who has always played by the rules. Michael and Leesie are set on a collision course when Michael loses both his parents when a hurricane hits their dive boat and he's sent to live with his grandmother in Tekoa, Washington--Leesie's home. Leesie is the only Mormon in her school and has her sites set on BYU (Brigham Young University) and an escape from Tekoa. Then she meets Michael. His parent's death has left him shattered and he needs her like no one has before. Despite her reputation as the Mormon "Ice Queen," Leesie finds that she need him too. The story of Michael's grief and healing, Leesie's moral conflict and conviction, and their love is told in dive logs, chat logs and in Leesie's poetry.

It's hard to write a review of a sequel without spoilers--I'll try, but If you haven't read TAKEN BY STORM, I'd recommend that you do that now. (Go ahead, I can wait.)

UNBROKEN CONNECTION picks up where TAKEN BY STORM leaves off. Leesie is living her dream at BYU. Michael is living his--working on a dive boat in Thailand. They parted ways, but time and distance haven't severed their connection:

The wifi, thick in the air,

pulses with him

revealing that

his far away fingers drum

as he stares at a screen.

Dim light,



he needs me.-- Angela Morrison, Unbroken Connection

UNBROKEN CONNECTION has all the elements that made TAKEN BY STORM such a great read--beautiful poetry, heartfelt longing, a great love story, and...okay it's hot. (In a clean way, think TWILIGHT.) The story made me laugh and cry. (I read it for the second time on a field trip. I won't even mention how hard it is try to hide the fact that you're crying when you're on bus with a bunch of 7th graders.) Through both books I was rooting for Leesie and Michael--an unlikely couple trying to live with and without each other.

One of my favorite things about this series is the portrayal of Leesie as a Mormon young woman. Teen aged girls (Mormon or not) will identify with the angst Leesie goes through as she tries to reconcile her beliefs with what she feels for Michael. Leesie's character is real and this is a real portrayal of the Mormon culture. Leesie tries hard, but she isn't perfect, her BYU roommates aren't perfect, the Mormon missionaries aren't perfect. If you're looking for a book that portrays members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints (Mormons) neither as absolute saints or absolute sinners, this series is a good one to read.

On that note, here is my

Mom Review

I love these books and as I said, they are clean. HOWEVER... I haven't let my daughter (12) read TAKEN BY STOR
M or UNBROKEN CONNECTION. (I haven't let her read the last two TWILIGHT BOOKS either.) Sexuality and abstinence (or not) are big themes in both of these books, including some discussion about the sex trade and child prostitution in Thailand. Honestly, I don't think a twelve-year-old (or at least my twelve-year-old) is ready for some of the mature content presented in this book.

I would recommend this book for 14 or 15 year-olds on up. At that point I would say to read these books with your teens for the Discussions they can bring up, like:

  • Your family's beliefs and values pertaining to sex before marriage.
  • How to maintaining a respectful friendship with someone who doesn't share your beliefs.
  • How to dealing with guilt and grief after someone close to you dies.
  • How to deal with conflicts with roommates (or siblings and friends) constructively (hint, no tainted brownies allowed).

This story might also bring up a discussion about the sex trade that goes on in many parts of the wo
rld and even conservation and protecting our oceans.

I loved both UNBROKEN CONNECTION and TAKEN BY STORM and would recommend them to anyone who loves a good love story, who is interested in Mormon beliefs and Mormon culture or
who is interested in diving.

Like TAKEN BY STORM, UNBROKEN CONNECTION leaves you wanting more. I'm happy to announce there is more to the story.


For my next post write about the third book in the series CAYMAN SUMMER, and the unique way Angela is presenting it to the world.


  1. Jen, you are such a sweetheart! Thanks for cheerleading for me like this! Love and hugs, Annie