Book Review: Hope's Journey by Stephanie Worlton

Sydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other.

Release Date: July 10, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Bonneville
Source: Review copy from author

I loved this book!  Hope's Journey is about two seniors in high school: Alex and his girlfriend Sydney.  They are in love, and have such a sweet, tender relationship.   

Except, for Sydney, something is missing.  On the outside, she appears to have it all: a confident tomboy who has more guy friends than girl friends, and an energetic, outgoing personality.  On top of that, she is very smart, has received multiple scholarship offers and has her pick as to which college she'll attend.  But, on the inside, she feels an emptiness.  For someone who appears to have all the confidence in the world, she actually has pretty low self-esteem.  She searches for her self-worth outside of herself, and finds it in her relationship with Alex.

Alex is a smart, talented athlete, and plans to go on a mission as soon as he turns 19, which is several months after high school ends.  Alex and Sydney are Mormon, and most Mormon young men go on mission trips for two years after high school, before they start college.  The missionaries' purpose is to spread the word of God to non-believers, and they are assigned a location for their mission: they could be sent anywhere in the world.  Young men have to be pure before their missions, and if they have sinned, they have to tell the church elders and repent of their sin.  Depending on the nature of their sin, they may or may not be allowed to complete their mission.

Alex and Sydney have "gone too far" a couple of times.  Worlton doesn't give any of the details, just alludes to the fact (this being a Christian fiction, it is very clean and appropriate for any age).  Sydney starts to fear that she is pregnant, and soon finds out she is (this is not a spoiler---see the summary).  Their carefully constructed plan for after graduation crumbles around them like a house of cards.  Suddenly, Alex's mission is in jeopardy, and Sydney's college plans are up in the air.  And Sydney and Alex react to the news in very, very different ways.

The majority of Hope's Journey is based on how Sydney and Alex react, grow, and adapt during Sydney's pregnancy.  The story is told in alternating point-of-views, with Sydney narrating one chapter and Alex the next.  I love that style of narration because I love getting to know both main characters so well.  And, I really enjoyed being in Alex's head because if I hadn't known his inner thoughts, his actions, at times, would have made me want to reach through the book and slap him!

I ended up reading this book in a day: I could not put it down and had to know how Alex and Sydney's stories ended.  And I was most pleased with the ending---although it was not what I had expected and I would have liked more details.

I would recommend Hope's Journey to fans of YA and fans of Christian fiction.  It was a beautifully written book and I will definitely read more from Stephanie Worlton.


  1. Love this book! I stayed up half the night finishing it.

  2. I think I will have to read it since my hubby was one of those Mormon missionaries! It is always interesting to see how people react when life throws you lemons...


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