Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Streamline by Jennifer Lane

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Title: Streamline
Author: Jennifer Lane
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Paperback: 460 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He's captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother's crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father's abuse, battered and alone.  
Leo's girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida's top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there's an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number-one supporter--her father--is in prison for murder.  
Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything's on the line . . . streamline.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

When I finished Streamline, I immediately marked it as five stars. Jennifer Lane masterfully tackles themes such as physical abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, anger, murder, cover-up, pregnancy, redemption and forgiveness in a very compassionate way. It’s wonderful how Lane is able to wrap all those themes into a solid book and deliver it in such a way that young adults can relate.

The story is mainly told though the eyes of Leo Scott, a 17-year-old high school swim star who hides and compartmentalizes his emotions. He is the son of Navy Commander Scott, who insists that his son strive for perfection in everything. His mother is disabled and silently allows her husband to physically abuse Leo. While growing up, Leo’s older brother, Jason Scott bore the majority of their father’s abuse, but left home unexpectedly and returns the same way. Leo has a wonderful girlfriend named Audrey, who lives with her mother, but stays alone most nights because her mother works out-of-state and her father is in prison for a murder he does not remember committing.

Commander Scott, or CS as his boys call him, wants to instill discipline in his children and feels that beating them is the only way to do it. I enjoyed hating this man: he personifies everything that I dislike. There were moments when I understood why he felt the need to strive for perfection, but his control was demon-like and I felt creepy just being in his presence.

I love that the author intertwined a murder mystery within the depths of the story. It kept me focused on a larger picture when at times I felt the deep despair within the characters. Although I enjoyed this book, I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster. Some days, I couldn’t pick up the book, other days, I couldn’t put it down, but in the end…it was worth the ride.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*