4 out of 4 stars
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The third book of the Between Two Worlds series, Welcome, Reluctant Stranger is a novel belonging to the contemporary fiction genre. Written by Evy Journey, it is a standalone novel, which follows the life of Leilani Torres, a therapist with a murky past. Through this fast paced story written in third person, Evy journey manages to weave a gripping story about life and love.
Eighteen years ago, nine year old Leilani Torres and her siblings were whisked off to America out of Costa Mora, a small Pacific island in turmoil. Her father’s absence and her mother’s reluctance to provide and explanation baffle nine year old Leilani. In a new country, equipped with a fresh beginning, she builds herself a new life, with the determination to forget her eventful past. Justin Halverson is a computer nerd, who takes pride in the amusing, composed exterior he maintains. But when his girlfriend of seven years leaves him, his self control slips away, and he finds himself in a shady part of his hometown, surrounded by thugs who threaten to take his life away. Justin is rescued by Leilani, and as their worlds collide, they realize that in order to face the future, they’ll have to accept the past experiences that shaped their present selves.
The novel places much emphasis on the past and the mysteries it holds. When the recent turn of events threatens to break the walls Leilani spent years trying to put up, she discovers that “the present had a way of putting people back to the past”. After all, Leilani’s childhood obsession of watching people and evaluating them is probably what led to her career as a therapist. The traumatic incidents her mother had to go through are what made her the unflappable person she is today.
Being an immigrant, Leilani worries that she’s “not as American as apple pie”, although she acts and speaks like one. The title of the series being ‘Between Two Worlds’, her struggle of finding her true identity is quite apparent. Relationships play a major role in Leilani’s journey of self discovery. The story reminds us that the most important people in our lives are met in uncanny moments. I felt that the characters of the story were well written; Justin was perhaps the most the most likeable character. I loved the tenacity and the positive attitude he maintained throughout the novel. How the characters came out stronger and wiser, after going through everything that threatened to break their relationships apart impressed me.
I would highly recommend this book to new adult (or even young adult) readers who enjoy romance and contemporary fiction. I believe that the dialogues would’ve been much more realistic if colloquial language was used in place of the somewhat formal writing style employed. The use of narrative language with descriptive language and imagery was successful in linking the storyline with the characters, scenes and the setting. That being said, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
The story ends on a high note, reminding us that greater the storm is, the brighter the rainbow will be.
Welcome, Reluctant Stranger (Between Two Worlds, Book 3)
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