About the Book
Learning, Book Two in The Bailey Flanigan series, picks up where Leaving ended. Bailey Flanigan and Cody Coleman are not only separated by physical distance, they are also faced with great emotional distance. Bailey grows closer to her dream to be an actress and dancer in New York, while Cody coaches a small high school football team … on and off the field. But neither feels complete without the chance to share their dreams with one other.Can distance truly make the heart grow fonder? Or will Cody learn to turn to others to share in his happiness? And when tragedy strikes? Who will be there to provide comfort in the face of loss?As Cody’s past catches up with him, he must learn to reach out for help or risk withdrawing permanently inside himself. Both Bailey and Cody find themselves learning significant life lessons in this poignant love story, featuring members from Karen Kingsbury’s popular Baxter family.
The characters in this series are no strangers to Kingsbury fans. Bailey and Cody had recurring roles in four previous series along with the ever present Baxter family (who also make appearances in this series). Bailey and Cody are maturing as young adults and beginning their respective careers on Broadway and coaching football, which propels their personal lives in different directions.
This series has taken an idealistic approach to a Christian’s struggle in everyday life. Bailey’s family dynamics take on almost super-human qualities and they are always ready to dispense divinely inspired advice. Bailey’s journey as a single Christian woman in search of love and her desire for fame on the Broadway stage at times seem at odds with one another and are compounded by numerous preachy moments. Inspirational messages should feel natural and flawlessly integrated into the story, but sometimes I felt like Bailey was pushing everything to be too spiritual to the point where it can alienate some readers.
Cody’s storyline revolved around his success as a football coach and mentor to young boys. This plot line was heavy on the football and light on the romance. Cody and Bailey do not have any interactions with one another throughout the book, but both succumb to frequent Facebook stalking of each other’s profiles. Consequently, both are aware of the other’s new romantic relationships and have decided to move on with their lives in spite of their lingering love for one another. All the romantic elements in this book are very tame and appropriate for a younger audience.
I see this series as the introduction to Karen Kingsbury’s body of work for the daughter’s of her longtime fans. The story and the way it was written will appeal to the teen-young adult demographic, especially since a significant portion of the main characters’ interactions occur through Facebook and Skype.
**review copy provided by Zondervan**