Prodigal is the story of Lexy, a high school student who moves from Georgia to Texas just before her senior year of high school. She must say goodbye to friends and neighbors and forfeit her role as Editor of the school paper – after finally achieving the coveted position. The reason behind the sudden move is a double whammy – her Mom is sick and wants the care of a specialist in Houston. This is not a spoiler – these bombshells come in the first few pages of Chapter One. Lexy is forced come to terms with her Mom’s illness while navigating the rough waters of high school. Her senior year is seasoned with first love, second chances., and lessons in perseverance, forgiveness, and faith. Lexy’s story is an authentic description of life’s surprises, and it is an uplifting tale of mercy and redemption.
Prodigal is unlike any coming-of-age novel I have read – the characters are complex, the conflicts are true to life, and the spiritual lives of the teens are inspiring. The book is very well written, fast paced and stays with you long after the story is over. Any reader from teenage on up will find it easy to read and impossible to forget.
One thing I loved about Prodigal: a few of the characters attend church, draw strength from Scripture and profess their faith as the plot unfolds. This aspect of teenage life is absent from most novels, but is a real phenomenon: Christians do come in all ages. As a Believer myself, it was refreshing to see a Youth Group mentioned in dialog and a church parking lot as a setting. It is not heavy handed preaching or an unimportant afterthought – the manner in which Lexy’s friends ministered to her was a sincere act of love and friendship toward someone who is suffering. They shared their belief in God, and it was both surprising and wonderful. Again: this is not Bible thumping, tract distributing, street corner preaching… it is presented as a resource a few characters draw upon to find peace at an awkward age in a troubled time.
It is always a joy to be taken by surprise with a book. Do yourself a favor and read the other reviews on Amazon. I am not alone in cherishing this 5 star Must Read.
I sincerely hope Rektok Ross writes many more books. Until then, the author was gracious enough to participate in a little Q&A with The Book Beacon… I’d like to publically thank Rektok, and we are honored to present the following:
What was the inspiration for Prodigal?
There seems to be a gaping hole right now for mainstream literature that helps young adults answer the questions: why are we here and for what purpose? Books for teens about God seem to be in one of two categories: either (1) uber religious, which turn off a lot of people who aren’t really sure what they believe or (2) nonexistent. So I wanted to write something that was fun and accessible but that also asked you to think about the bigger questions in life. You know, vampires and werewolves are fun and all but at the end of the day they are fantasy entertainment and I think all of us need something real to think about every now and then.
What was the most difficult thing about writing Prodigal?
Working with my editors! LOL. I never realized how brutal the process is. Ultimately they made the book stronger but when you’ve spent years writing something and pouring your heart onto a page it’s pretty difficult to hear how much it sucks in places. It makes you just want to rip your book to shreds, crawl into a hole, and never come out again. To make matters even worse, I also had beta readers including my boyfriend’s teenage girls and they might have been even more brutal to me! But at the end of the day, I think Prodigal is all the stronger for the effort.
What was your favorite or chapter/ scene to write?
I love this question! There were so many parts of the book I enjoyed writing but, honestly, I think it was the last chapter. The message of love and hope was a great one to put pen to paper on.
Is there a message you want your audience to take away from Prodigal?
What’s most important to me is getting people to think. If you read Prodigal and spend even a few minutes reflecting on your life then I’ll feel like I’ve fulfilled a little of my own purpose here. My goal is not to be preach or say you have to think one way. Each of the characters in Prodigal has their own way of looking at life and love and God. What’s important to me is that people just take the time to think about these things for themselves. If Prodigal can do that, if it can open up the dialogue here (parents with their kids, friends with one another) then that’s all I could hope for. That and a blockbuster movie of course!
What actor/ actress would you choose to play Lexy and Ash?
I have a “Look Book” for all my books where I copy and paste pictures of people that look like the characters I envision. For Prodigal, I had Taylor Swift as Lexy and Ryan Sypek (I’m a huge fan of the old ABC Family Show “Wildfire”) as Ash. I don’t know how they’d do with the actual acting part of it but they certainly would look nice!