The Color of Happiness by K.P Gazelle
Publisher: Radiant Books
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Sweet Romance
Length: Full (157 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Myrtle
Faith Lane is the girl who has everything. At least, that’s what everyone thinks when they see her rocking a killer dress while laughing with her best friend, Tiffany. But Faith’s life is far from flawless. Her peers torment her relentlessly, and her parents expect her to be the epitome of perfection. Criticized and pressured at school and home, Faith retreats into silent acceptance and finds an escape in her passion of dancing. Then she meets Alex – popular, forever with a pass, and concealing a mysterious secret of his own. And through his encouragement, Faith starts believing in her gift for dance and gains courage to stand up for herself. But will she be able to keep her footing when the events of one night consume her with the need to jump off the rocky cliffs near her coastal home? And what has pushed her to the edge of reason?
Faith is a dream daughter. She goes to school and comes home as expected. She cleans house, including her brothers’ room. She is conservative in all manner of dress and hairstyle. She studies almost all the time. She is respectful and courteous. And she loves to dance, although her ballerina-style steps need some work at first. She seems determined to be the best she can be—at everything—just like her parents expect. But even though her Algebra 2 Honors grade is 93%, her mother says it is not good enough. Faith needs to try harder, she is told. No matter what she does, something more is always expected of her.
Tiffany, Faith’s best friend, brings an integral balance to everyday life. A bond exists between them that one hopes all high school girl’s experience. The two accept each other unconditionally, flaws and all. However, due to Faith’s ultra conservative nature, the high school bullies have a field day with her. Jamie, the lead bully, is so authentic her character even tied my stomach in knots. Faith’s dealing with the awful bullies had me set for a battle, but then along comes Alex and the bullies completely disappear.
I loved Alex’s character. He is the kind of person you want to know. I thought he might be a little unrealistic for a teen boy, but he would sure be worth hoping for and would definitely be worth the wait! The relationship between Faith and Alex (and Tiffany) makes the whole story genuine—their first love and friendship was authentic.
I wish the story had stayed centered here with Faith’s love of dance being the focal point. But instead I felt lots of abandoned storylines and contradictions. In the beginning, it seemed Faith was doomed to bullying from bratty schoolgirls making fun of her for dressing “like a freakin’ nun” always wearing long skirts and full sleeve tops. Then this whole scenario disappeared midway through the first chapter. Soon, Faith is wearing lace dresses and seems to be one of the most popular girls in school, with the bullying aspect never again revisited. Also, her mom starts out being unreasonably strict, not even allowing her to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance because “you know how those dances can get.” Yet thirty pages or so later, Faith is off to an all-day beach party with friends celebrating her sixteenth birthday. Since neither scenario had a major event that changed anyone’s outlook, much of the book came off as contradictory.
This story has a major emotional twist, which presented an opportunity for an unbeatable teen love story, but unfortunately, only a faint line connected the dots and there were too many unimportant sidebar scenes.
The strength of this novel lies in its believable characters and their immediate relationship. I think teens will connect to the story on several levels, but none more so than those searching for their first true love. Faith and Alex are the genuine article.