Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex. Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late? For anyone who’s ever wrestled with her dreams.
Kicking Eternity sucks the reader in from the very first page because of Anne Lee Miller’s amazing ability to capture the audience’s attention. Within its pages, it covers many topics that the audience can relate to and appreciate the struggles within the characters’ lives.
First of all, I love the name Raine and it has always been one of my favorites, so I pretty much loved her character before I even knew her. But Raine is the perfect character. While there are a few main characters, the center is Raine because she is like the sun that all the other characters revolve around. Their lives and relationships are seen because they are in Raine’s life. Raine is a strong character that knows what she wants and is willing to do anything in order to reach her goals and dreams, which creates problems and love triangles within her life.
I found the beginning of the book to be slightly confusing with all the characters. I had wished there had been a better overview of them because it felt as if we jumped into their lives without warning or introduction. With this many main characters, five, you really need to get a sense of them, but it does become less confusing the further you read and the connections between characters is more visible.
The element that I love the most about Kicking Eternity and Miller’s writing in general is the reliability factor. This was a real story with real characters facing real problems. Not in the sense that it actually happened, but everyone struggles with their dreams, relationships and faith. It is refreshing to read a book that has events that wouldn’t happen in a Hollywood movie, but in real life.
Faith is one if the strongest elements within Miller’s books, but the way in which she delivers it is unique. In no way does this book push religion down your throat. There may be religion in the book, but it focuses on faith and self-acceptance. It doesn’t matter what you believe, the basis of faith in this story is figuring out who you are and what makes you happy. Faith is just the key to having these feelings within the characters’ lives and it helps them to realize their true potential.
Overall, I loved Kicking Eternity. Anne Lee Miller is one of my new favorite authors. I cannot wait to read the rest of her books in this collection.
Reviewed by Rachel Keane
Publication date: 6/28/2012