Released: July 2009
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Genre: Adult - Contemporary - Inspirational
Source: Won from author
Young James Frost just knows, deep in his bones, that he's a writer. He writes far into early mornings, after his wearying hours of scrubbing toilets and sweeping floors. He loves writing that much. But it's not only the joy of words that keeps him grinding; it's his desire to retire the janitor's mop. He sees being published as the key to living an improved life.
James has another deep-seated conviction: that he's not good enough. He secretly longs to be accepted. However, the conventional others in his life seem all too willing to remind him that he's wasting his time. Then he meets and falls in love with Leigh, the one bright spot in his endless misery of self-doubt. A quiet but resolutely religious girl, she has to fight off disapproval of her own from overly critical parents, whose insults are countered by James's often-voiced admiration of her. Likewise, Leigh's faith in his talents begins to build his confidence, eventually allowing her to introduce him to a different way to help himself: relying on God.
Ultimately, James's newfound faith is sorely tested to the point of doubt when his dream to be published seems to melt into a mirage, smothered by countless rejection slips from agents and publishers. His faith is also battered by having to fight highly emotional battles and suffer fear and loss. Just when James appears hopelessly sapped by devastating events, one last door opens, and he's rocked by an epiphany.
I haven't read an 'inspirational' book in a long time. I know people tend to shy away from something labeled under that genre due to have preachy the book might be. That's not the case with Unconventional. It has a great mix of everything that happens in life.
My first reaction after reading a few pages was: Oh my, you are wordy! Then a few chapters into it I realized how easily I could relate to James and his life. He's a writer. I'm a writer. He decided to not attend a four year college unlike all of his friends. I did about the same. He works at a crappy job and dreams of one day being published. Yep, I know that story all too well.
When James meets Leigh it seems like his life is going to turn around. I really enjoyed how slowly and realistic the relationship built between the two. Leigh really helped James realize how good of a person he was even when things go a bit sticky. We all know life doesn't go the way we want it to, and for James this happens a lot. I think if I would have read this book months ago it wouldn't have had the same affect on me. If you read this book, it'll lit a fire under you butt - writer or not. What really made this story so wonderful is the simplest reminder that when you have faith not only in your beliefs, but in yourself, you can do anything.