*I received a copy of Kelly Leslie’s book from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for my honest review.*
Chances… Are is an inspiring young adult novel full of adventure about self-discovery, overcoming obstacles, great characters, and a blossoming romance.
“Come on, Chance. Take a chance!” The all too familiar voices came from below her perch in the sky.
“I got this!” Chance yelled down, feeling for the spray paint can in her hoodie pocket. “Oh, Dad, if you are with me right now, please don’t let me fall.”
Sweat trickled down her back as she inched along the narrow ridge. Don’t look down, she told herself.
“Hurry up, before someone drives by!”
“Almost there!” She focused on her destination.
She is a girl torn. Torn between her past and present, her outer and inner selves, her modest class and her boyfriend’s wealth. Ever since her world came crashing down at the young age of nine, her focus became all about being accepted. Years later, she has developed into the perfect chameleon, changing according to the demands of others. How far will she go? How high will the stakes become? Can true love really conquer all? Does it even have a chance?
Chances Are… is an inspiring young adult novel about a seventeen-year-old girl named Chance, who is on a path of self-discovery and overcoming obstacles, pain, and emotions. Her father’s death weighs heavy on her heart, but speaking out loud to him gives her perspective and helps her figure out who she really is, and answers many questions about the decisions she has made. Educator, children book author, and now debut young adult author, Kelly Leslie creates a refreshing young adult novel that I believe could help teenagers find themselves and show them that trying to fit in to meet friends is not always the best choice. You should never have to change who you are as a person to be accepted by others, and it takes a special someone to help Chance realize it.
The story begins with Chance taking a chance by spray painting her artwork on the side of a building across the street from a construction site operated by her boyfriend’s father. Even though Chance has the love and support of her mother, she felt like she needed to be someone else to find friends at school. Keisha and Olivia always dare Chance to do risk-taking stunts.
Troy is a caring and intelligent person who loves sports. Keisha and Olivia dare Chance to get the cute football player’s attention, but the dare ends up being much more. Troy and Chance’s relationship blossoms throughout the story, and their relationship is warm, caring, and memorable. She learns and grows as an individual on an unexpected summer vacation to Troy’s grandparents’ cottage. A beautiful small town with cottages by the lake, boats, beaches, shopping, and sweet treats from the downtown bakery. When Chance sees the beautiful luxurious guest room Troy’s grandparents have created for her, her face lights up like a Christmas tree. She immediately sends photos to her friends, which is the beginning of Chance learning that her friends weren’t true friends.
Chance gets the opportunity to meet Troy’s friends and begins a friendship with Avery Khan, the daughter of Troy’s doctor. Troy is trying to recover from an injury and get fit for the new football season. Avery takes the opportunity to get to know Chance, and they build a bond over books, art, and Hallmark movies. The characteristics of Chance made me smile because I am a bookworm, and I love watching Hallmark movies on the weekend. The small touches of what a character likes and dislikes can draw the reader’s interest in connecting with the characters, and I love when an author does that. I enjoy reading stories with a storyline or some aspect where I can connect with the main character. My favorite part about this story is that Chance is a writer and writes down how she feels and what she experiences. Writing down my feelings and what I was experiencing during a challenging time is how I fell in love with writing.
She learns something about herself by hanging out with the wrong people, doing dangerous stunts, and facing emotions. Her self-discovery journey is inspiring and moving because she is so young but strong and brave. Her boyfriend, Troy, is supportive and is the person who sees her for her and not taking a chance, Chance. He is supportive, loving, and the one person who can save her.
I truly enjoyed reading this story. I found it to be a beautiful and inspiring story that all girls should read. The character development and setting are beautifully described from how the water dribbles and the sandy beach to crisp leaves under their feet on Troy and Chance’s night strolls. The story is beautifully written, and one of my favorite lines was, “The journey of retracing her steps seemed easier. Relieving a ton of pent-up thoughts and feelings through her tidal wave of tears may have exhausted her but needed” (p.100).
These words represent Chance’s journey and how she needed to live through the emotions, dig deep into her soul, and go through some bad experiences to find what is important to her and whom she wanted to be. If you enjoy reading young adult stories with a strong female heroine, sweet contemporary romance, and adventure, you will love Kelly Leslie’s debut young adult novel, Chances Are…