Bailey Flanigan: Leaving by Karen Kingsbury

Recently, I finished an incredible book that I mentioned in a previous entry, called Leaving, by the popular Christian fiction author, Karen Kingsbury. Thus, as I promised, I’m going to write a review of the book, doing my best to avoid spoiler alerting it for you.

The book Leaving follows the lives of four different characters, and contains a host of interesting side characters as well. The cast of characters includes

1. Bailey- An optimistic twenty-one year old girl, who’s skilled in singing, dancing, and acting, and dreams of being on Broadway.

2. Cody-Bailey’s ex-boyfriend. He has fought in the Iraq War and has been suffering from PTSD as a result. Currently, he is working as a football coach at a school in another town, whose team is currently failing.

3. Brandon Paul- A famous young actor who has recently become a Christian and who starred with Bailey in the blockbuster hit Unlocked. He has been friends with Bailey since they filmed that movie together and is beginning to have feelings for her.

4. Tara-Cody’s deceased friend Art’s Mom. She’s a very nice older lady, and very intent on setting up Cody with Cheyenne, Art’s fiancee before he died.

5. Cheyenne-A girl trying to move past the loss of her fiancee Art, and who has been spending much of her time visiting a young cancer patient. She becomes good friends with Cody throughout the course of this book.

6. Ashly-A wife and mom of three children. She is married to Landon, who has begun having lung problems.

7. Landon-Ashly’s husband. He is a firefighter whose lungs were injured on the scene of the 9/11 plane crash, as smoke engulfed the area.

There are more characters whom I could go into detail about, such as DeMetri and Ashly’s father, but that would make this post way too lengthy, as there are a lot of minor characters mentioned throughout the book.

The book opens with the Flanigan family sitting in church, as the pastor preaches about how things change, and how nothing stays the same except for Jesus, foreshadowing the changes that take place in this book. Throughout the book, Bailey reflects on some of these changes. Auditioning for a broadway show. How Cody left without an explanation. Her growing feelings for her old friend Brandon Paul. As Bailey reflects on these changes, Cody does his best to recover from things that have changed and wrecked havoc on his life. The way he still remembers the fear that he felt in Iraq. How he was forced away from Bailey by his mom’s psychopathic drug dealer, who threatened to kill any girl that he fell in love with. Meanwhile, the Baxter family members are dealing with changes and complications of their own, as Landon’s lungs seem to be getting weaker and weaker.

This book is a very enticing read. Kingsbury pulls you in with her story lines, making you care about the characters as if they were real people. She often cuts you off at the climax of the chapter, which keeps you reading to find out what happens next. There were points in this book where I was mentally shouting at the characters, hoping they’d make the choice that I was rooting for (Namely with the character ships).

This book is a Christian, realistic fiction novel with elements of drama, suspense, and romance. It follows multiple characters lives and it’s written in third person omniscient (A format that I particularly enjoy). If this sounds like your type of book, than I would highly recommend reading it. All in all, I give Leaving by Karen Kingsbury five stars. 🙂

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