Fried, Scrambled and Unequally Yoked by Kimberlee Mendoza
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, YA
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Black-eyed Susan
Living in a divorce situation has never been easy on any of the Russells, but lately Kevin feels like the invisible sibling. Things only get worse when Melena, the only one in his family he can count on, decides to get married and move out of state. So when gorgeous Janessa Blackington shows interest, he's hooked. But dating the wild girl will come at a high price that could cost him his dreams and possibly his life. Is he willing to take that risk just to feel loved? Or could there be something better right under his nose that will only cost him his heart?
This book was the fourth and final installation in Ms. Mendoza's gripping series on the ups and downs of the Russell family. This time the focus was on the youngest of the four Russell siblings, Kevin. As the youngest, Kevin felt like the "invisible" member of the family. Everyone, parents and siblings alike seem so wrapped up in their own dramas (all of which are highlighted in the previous three books), that they often appear - at least to him - to deal with Kevin as an afterthought.
At the age of 14, Kevin's only solace and hope for the future hangs on his athletic prowess in soccer. But then the beautiful Janessa starts to show an interest in him and his horizons begin to expand. In fact, they expand so much that they end up falling apart completely.
Kevin is left at the bottom, examining life and finding that there is more good there - much more, than he had ever realized before. His family loves him, he has a friend who'll stand by him, and he knows that God will forgive him and help him.
Ms. Mendoza has done a marvelous job of painting a portrait of teenage tunnel vision and angst as well as the family and societal turmoil that can accompany it. She's written Kevin in a strong, believable way that made me want to meet him and go to his soccer games and cheer for him. As a reader, I found myself so caught up in the story that I was mumbling at my computer screen, "No Kevin! Don't do it!" when he made some dumb moves. Conversely, when he shows enough backbone to do the right thing, I found myself actively rooting for him. And when I had to walk away from the story to attend to "real life", I simply could not get Kevin and company out of my mind; I couldn't wait to get back to the book!
In addition to giving us Kevin and his woes and defeats and triumphs and joys, the author also deftly wraps up some loose ends for the rest of the family members. Those who have waited for this last book to see how all these lives and trials come together will not be disappointed. The ending is very satisfying - like a cup of quality hot cocoa on a chilly day.