Publisher: Full Quiver Publishing
Publication Date: April 26, 2017
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Carolyn Astfalk lives in Hershey, Pennsylvania where the scent on the morning breeze carries either chocolate or manure depending on wind direction and atmospheric conditions. A Pittsburgh native, Carolyn carries her Yinzer card with pride, having interned at Pittsburgh’s iconic TV and radio stations KDKA and WDVE. She is a graduate of Duquesne University, where she majored in Latin and Broadcast Journalism. A cradle Catholic, Carolyn was raised mainly at church basement rummage sales and other parish-sponsored events. She worked her way up to “pup girl” at weekly Bingo and even served as a parish organist for several years. Having reached the apex of parish ministry, she moved to the state capital to advance her churchy career. Carolyn served as communications director and registered lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference for a decade, advocating for religious liberty; prolife, pro-family issues, Catholic education, and healthcare, among others. Since then, she has been a stay-at-home mom to her four children. Most days she can be found wiping up spills, folding laundry, and tapping furiously on her laptop.
If you're looking for a coming of age story for an older teen that shares the value of remaining chaste, this one is for you. The story introduces 16-year-old Paul and 14-year-old Rachel who are brought together through Paul's older brother, Sean's job. Over the next few years, the teens become attracted to each other and must deal with their physical feelings, growing love for each other, moments of weakness, and temptations. In a culture that promotes sex and completely disregards the fact that sex is reserved for married couples, this story reminds readers of the truth that sex is a gift from God. While I feel that this story is appropriate for older teens, I do feel that it is best suited for those who may already be in relationships and need reminders of why chastity is important. I would not advise the story for younger teens or those showing no interest in relationships or dating. While there are no graphic scenes, there are moments of temptation in which the teens are tempted and scenes, in my opinion, get steamy. Overall, the author relays the story beautifully, there's a little mystery hidden in it, and the chastity message is a much needed one in our current, overly sexual environment.
Well-written and enjoyable, this story takes an honest look at the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of teens in a serious relationship. As Paul’s and Rachel’s feelings for each other grow, they confront new emotions and urges that they don’t always know how to deal with. Like every child raised Christian, they know what they are “supposed” to do but in some moments, they don’t understand “why.” Sometimes they are confused and make poor choices, but through all the temptations, challenges, and even failures, they both develop an understanding of the value of chastity. By the end of the story, they have a clear, solid, and mature grasp of its worth. Rightfully Ours provides a thoughtful analysis of intimacy from a teen’s point of view, making it a great book especially for teens who struggle with sexual temptation and for parents who want a deeper consideration of the trials teens in love face.
I enjoyed watching Paul and Rachel’s friendship develop. At times, they misunderstand each other and jump to conclusions or wistfully wonder if the other feels the same way. They support each other and grow together while facing challenges and while embarking upon a “treasure hunt” in the flower garden. It all felt so real.
Mostly, I like the message of developing a strong conviction about waiting for marriage, rather than allowing oneself the temporary thrill of partaking in something that isn’t “rightfully ours.” I also like how the story tackles the real temptations and challenges a teen in a relationship could face, the behaviors that increase the trials, and those that safeguard from falling.
Rightfully Ours is a novel for older teens about the importance and beauty of chastity. This is the first book I've read by Carolyn Astfalk and thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. She is an accomplished Catholic romance writer and has brought her skills to the YA market. This book is full of relatable characters, touching family traumas, teenage passions, and an intriguing mystery. While an enjoyable story, this book deals with an important subject matter that teens face in our society- purity. I look forward to reading more from this author.