Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Conviction {by Kelly Loy Gilbert}

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Title: Conviction
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: NetGalley
Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.
But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.
Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.
Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction

I loved this one. I wasn't sure about it going in, because I've never really been a fan of sports books, but this one was so much more than baseball. It was unique, distinct, thrilling, and emotional.
At first, Braden may seem like a simple character. But don't let that fool you. He is complex, with many layers that we slowly see peeled away. He lives a simple life with his father, where baseball is pretty much his whole life. His brother left as soon as he could, leaving Braden feeling abandoned. Then, Braden's father is accused of murder, and his brother Trey has to come back to watch over him until the trial is over.
The story is also told a lot in flashbacks, leading up to what actually happened that night. While Braden looks like he has it all together, we see that is not actually the case. There are a lot of sides to his dad as well, and things start coming to light as the story progresses. This gives the story a sense of mystery and suspense, as we wait to see what happened.
Braden is also trying to find himself. His dad is a famous Christian radio host, so Braden has had a lot stuffed down his throat. While there is religion in this book, it's not necessarily religious. Braden is trying to figure out what he believes. This book deals with a lot, from faith to race to who Braden actually is. This book deals with a lot of gray areas. Things aren't always black and white, and that's a hard place to navigate for a teen on his own.
Like I said, this book deals with a lot of gray. Braden may make mistakes, but he learns from them. He's learning who he is, and that he isn't who his father made him to be. He also learns things about his father, his brother, that he didn't know before, and they shake his world. I think this book did a great job of dealing with those issues and those gray areas. It was definitely an emotional ride, the farther we get and the more we see his father. And the way everything could be metaphorically tied back to baseball was quite beautiful. This was an amazing story.
This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Kelly Loy Gilbert:

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