Friday, March 11, 2011

Leaving By Karen Kingsbury

Leaving (Bailey Flanigan Series)Title: Leaving

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Where I got it: Karen did a contest on her Facebook page where 40 of us out of thousands got to read an Advanced Copy of this book, and I was one of them that was chosen!

Why I Read It: Not only do I love Karen's books, but Bailey is one of my all time favorite characters EVER!

Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Barnes and Noble:

The Bailey Flanigan series begins with Bailey leaving Bloomington for the adventure of a lifetime. She has won an audition for the ensemble of a Broadway musical in New York City. She's determined to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but is she really ready to leave family and friends for the loneliness of the city? And what of Cody? His disappearance has her worried about their future and praying that their love can survive.
In order to be closer to his mother in jail, Cody takes a coaching job in a small community outside Indianapolis. New friends, distance, and circumstances expose cracks in his relationship with Bailey Flanigan.
Love, loneliness, big opportunities, and even bigger decisions highlight the first book in the new Bailey Flanigan series that features members of the popular Baxter family and finally completes the Bailey Flanigan/Cody Coleman story.


So, as was mentioned in the summary, this is the first book in the Bailey Flanigan series. For those of you who don't know who Bailey is, she's a character from other books that Karen has written. Bailey is such a lovable character, that Karen decided to make Bailey her very own series. 

This book was absolutely amazing. It was heart warming, funny, sad, heart breaking, inspiring, and incredible all rolled into one. Karen has a way of making ALL of the characters come to life in your mind when you're reading her books, and this book was no exception. I felt like I was BEST FRIENDS with Bailey, and knew her family in real life. When a book can make you feel this way, you know it's a one of a kind book!

This book is about Bailey finally realizing that her dream is coming true, and in order for her dream to come true, she has to Leave her family and friends in her own state of Indiana, and move to New York to be in a Broadway play. It's not easy for ANYONE to leave loved ones behind to make your own dreams come true, but Bailey shows us that it's okay to do so. And that God has a plan for ALL of us, and that once he opens a door for that plan, we must take it with our heads held high or we'll regret it for the rest of our lives. 

I've been on both sides of this book. I've been the one who has left, when I went to a new city for College and left my Mom, who is my hero, behind. And I've been on the side where I've been the one who has been left behind. My ex boy friend and I split up and went our separate ways because God opened doors for him to follow his dreams, and I didn't, and couldn't, get in the way of that. 

This book teaches us that it's okay to follow our dreams. That it may hurt to follow your dreams because you're leaving your loved ones behind, but in the end, it's what you accomplish that matters the most. 

Anyone who is struggling with finding their way in life, finding out if love is worth fighting for, and WHO is worth fighting for, who is trying to find a relationship with God, or rekindle their relationship for God, or those of us who aren't sure if dreams really DO come true, should read this book. You don't have to necessarily read the books that Bailey is in in the other series outside of this series to understand the back stories, so if you're starting with The Bailey Flanigan series, it's okay. You'll enjoy them just as much as I did and do! 

A cool fact about Bailey, and this series is that it's pretty much based off of the life of Karen. Almost everything that Bailey goes through, Karen's daughter Kelsey has been through too. Not EVERYTHING in Bailey's life reflects Kelsey, but a lot of it does. 

Kelsey plays Bailey on Facebook, so "Bailey" has her own Facebook page, which can be found HERE.

I'm excited for the next book, Learning, to come out on June 22nd! I can't wait to see where Life, and God, takes Bailey next!

As I mentioned, I was picked as a winner in a contest from Karen where I got to read an Advanced Copy of this book and do a review for her. This book will be published and available for everyone to read on MARCH 22ND, 2011!

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