Not too long ago there was an author looking for reviews for her books in a group I’m in on Facebook. They sounded really cute, so I decided to give them a try. I read A Braver Version of Me & A Better Version of Me by Cindy Ray Hale. This was a trilogy, but it now being rewritten into a nine book series.
Will Destiny find the courage to take risks, or will she stay inside her comfort zone forever?
High school sophomore Destiny Clark likes to play it safe. She spends her time dodging bullies and trying to stay out of trouble, but somehow both seem to repeatedly find her. When Hannah Miller, the new girl at the school retreat, convinces her to sneak out to spy on the boys’ cabins, her life gets turned upside down, and suddenly, her longtime secret crush, Isaac Robinson, starts showering her with attention.
When Isaac finds Destiny frozen with terror on a ropes course, he convinces her to face one of her biggest fears: auditioning for Primus, the school’s elite choir, She’s coveted a spot in the choir for a long time but never believed in herself enough to try out. As Destiny faces more of her fears, she discovers more challenges than ever. Before long she begins to wonder if being brave is worth the trouble it brings.
Destiny hasn’t had it easy at her school the last couple of years and tries to stay invisible, so she’s not really noticed. This changes when Hannah comes to her school and dares her to do new things. Hannah may not be the best influence in the beginning, but I love how supportive she is of Destiny. I think in many ways Destiny needed someone to challenge her so she could really go for her dreams.
At home she’s not the oldest or youngest, so I guess it’s hard at times when she accomplishes something. I love her sister though, she’s funny and I love that she reads. Her brother is very smart and really cares for his family. Also, the description of their house and Destiny’s hideout sound absolutely amazing!
Destiny starts to let herself be challenged and when she tries out for the choir, I was really proud of her. Isaac (Destiny’s longtime crush) plays a big part in this. He is finally noticing Destiny, but isn’t sure what to do about that. Isaac has a lot of responsibilities and is still struggling between doing what he wants and what is expected of him.
A Braver Version of Me is a cute and fast read that shows us we all have struggles in figuring out what we want and finding the confidence to go after our dreams. This author describes the struggles very well, but also shows how rewarding it can be with a little help from friends and family!
Destiny Clark is shocked when she finds out she got a major role in her school’s production of Les Miserables. And better yet, she’s cast alongside her crush, Isaac Robinson, the most popular guy in school. But then she realizes she’s not cast as his love interest, but instead has to sing her true feelings of rejection onstage in front of the whole school.
That’s when she decides to launch plan B. If she can get Preston Nelson, her guy friend from church to agree to be her boyfriend, maybe she won’t look so stupid in front of everyone. The problem is, she can’t ignore her feelings for Isaac, and the more time they spends practicing, the stronger her feelings seem to get.
Will Destiny be able to cool things off with Isaac and start something new with Preston or will she be stuck facing humiliation?
A Better Version of Me continues right where the first book leaves off. Destiny has a part in the choir that she wanted and will even be starring in the musical. The fact that she will be practicing with her crush (who she really can’t date) adds an interesting aspect to the story.
I loved seeing Destiny grow in confidence when it comes to singing and playing the part she was assigned. It’s great seeing characters become strong and believe in what they can do. On the other hand, she’s a typical teenager and stresses about boys and crushes.
Isaac finds out his girlfriend isn’t who he thought she was and is dealing with the consequences. On top of that he’s noticing Destiny a lot more, but in many ways that’s a forbidden romance. I thought it was interesting that he really started to choose his own feelings over what his father wanted. He was really trying to follow his heart.
Preston starts playing more of a part in this story and I really liked his character. He’s a hardworker (tries to help his family out) and seems really sweet. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.
A Better Version of Me really shows us what high school can be like. Insecurities about crushes and relationships, figuring out what you want, following your dream and just being a teenager and enjoying time with your friends. I loved the paintball match they had!
I have a feeling there may be some sort of love triangle in the future of this series, but I’m very curious to see how it all plays out!
The Destiny Clark Saga is a cute and innocent romance and while I did enjoy reading them, I thought it was weird that there’s no mention if religion being such a big part of these books. That being said, that’s not a bad thing at all! Religion can be a big part of people’s lives. What I guess surprised me was that it’s such a big part of the book, but only in really telling us that they think the other’s religion is wrong. I know that it’s not easy in many ways, but I guess I kind of missed there being more of a development in that. I hope this makes sense, because I’m having a hard time describing it.
I didn’t read the original trilogy, so I’m not sure if there have been new things added to these stories, but they are cut off at some weird moments. I am really curious to see how Destiny’s journey continues. This author writes characters that are learning to figure out who they are and what they want!