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Auten, "Becoming Bayley" (reviewed by Marilyn Brown) Options · View
Posted: Sunday, April 07, 2013 5:30:27 PM

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Title: Becoming Bayley
Author: Susan Auten
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Young Adult Novel
Year Published: 2012
Number of Pages: Approx. 214 (kindle)
ISBN: 978-1-60907-196-7 (e-book)
Price: $7.99

Reviewed by Marilyn Brown for The Association for Mormon Letters

I wanted to put in a good word for this new savvy writer, Susan Auten. Kudos to our UVU novel award committee who can "smell success."

I don't generally read what looks like a "young adult" book, but the committee for the thousand dollar UVU novel award given to Susan in 2011 (UVU.edu/English/marilynbrown) found her to speak to more than just the youth. This is a novel for everyone.

When we talked to Susan at the awards banquet, she expressed her ambition to become a writer. Her brother was making strong inroads in the publishing world, and she felt she could do the same. So the family definitely has writing talent. Every one of her reviewers on Amazon gave this young LDS wife and mother from Virginia five stars, including me.

Though the story begins like other youth novels, the dialogue and action are so well-written, the set-up so appealing, readers are captivated. Bayley is a star soccer player who falls for a male soccer player. The romance is enough to capture the imagination of a young teenage girl--and Susan stays with LDS standards all the way through the book. But the kernel of the story is the main character's battle against a strange disease. This was the bombshell. Midway through the book, when this beautiful young girl contracts this disease (we'll let you discover what it is) she faces her difficulty with such courage, daring, and sense of humor, that the reader cheers for her with bravado.

The book is about character development, and a young person coming into her own. "Becoming Bayley" should be a best-seller, not only on the LDS market, but nationally. It's one of the most moving books I've read for a long time. Susan is definitely a player on the LDS novel market. I'm glad we gave her an award--even though she might have felt pressured to spend it all flying to Utah to collect it. (I hope she isn't too disgruntled with us!)
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