High school. A time of fun and youth. And one of regret for most people. In Katy Eeten’s debut novel, Blast From Her Past, former high school mates, Sydney Hampson and Grant Williams, meet up again. They were at opposite ends of the social spectrum back then, and Sydney’s determined to keep them that way, while Grant tries to break through those barriers. Being caught in a snowstorm during a business trip forces Sydney’s wall down part way, but will she allow it down the rest of the way? Katy weaves the story from both their points of view, showing how Sydney’s standoffishness confuses him and the way Grant’s attempts at friendliness twist with her images of him from high school. It doesn’t help that Sydney’s still not over her her failed relationship. She running from both God and Grant.
There isn’t much about this book that I don’t like. The back and forth between Sydney and Grant gives a more balanced view of the characters and overall story. Katy manages the switches smoothly too with obvious breaks between each perspective—not head-hopping. The set up for the main conflict is clear and handled well. The narrative flows well, as does the dialogue. It’s easy to see Sydney and Grant as real people with fears and hesitations and awkwardness. Speaking of awkward, their first few conversations are stilted, but it works because they would be in that kind of situation, considering how the characters view one another. Katy employs several flashbacks to help show their background, which are necessary and not too long or drawn out.
An interesting dynamic exists with Sydney and Grant—they kind of switch places. Back in high school, Grant was predictably emotionally and spiritually immature, while Sydney rose above that. Now that they’re adults, Grant has grown far beyond what he was, but Sydney has taken several steps back in both areas of her life.
All of that said, a few small things stand out which I wasn’t fond of. Sydney doesn’t seem to have emotionally—or spiritually—matured from her days in high school and still holds Grant’s teenage immaturity too much against him. She doesn’t appear to understand that most everybody puts on a mask to hide who they really are during that time in their lives. That’s consistent with her character, though: she didn’t have that character flaw in high school—what you saw with Sydney Hampson was what you got. Another character flaw in Sydney: she allows the past to control far too much of her present, but that seems consistent with the character as well. Two things about the writing itself is there are a few too many speech cliches within the narrative, and one or two of the flashbacks were slightly abrupt but not jarring.
Overall, Blast From Her Past by Katy Eeten is a sweet, romantic story with clean storytelling and few flaws. Christian romance readers in particular will enjoy this down-to-earth tale of two people trying to reconcile their pasts with the present and hopefully finding each other along the way.
Anaiah Press provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.