I read Invaluable
sometime last year. While I loved that it taught important lessons and messages that many young women need to read, and I really did, I found the book itself... below par.
One of my problems was with the way Invaluable
tried to be two things at once: an LDS doctrinal book and
a young adult novel. These two genres, in my opinion, do not mix well. Of course, an author can convey doctrinal messages in young adult novels, and doctrinal books can contain stories about youths, but it just didn't work for me here. I especially disliked that the author chose the clichéd deceased-ancestor-visits-dreams-and-gives-visions route. It felt so false that I ended up skimming those passages every now and then.
The characters needed work. While Eliza is admirable for trying to learn from her mistakes and continuing to come closer to her best self, she comes across as a naïve, Sue-ish girl; a character that's all too typical in today's storytelling world. The other characters are pretty much stereotypes. Chelsea: the spoiled, popular girl with everything she wants that hates the main character at first but ends up respecting her. Luke: The attractive, gentlemanly crush-at-fist-sight. Jason: That clingy but likable guy-friend that wants to be more. Courtney: The younger sister who distances herself from her family because she doesn't want them to know about her life. Jill: The best friend who is glued to her boyfriend at one hip and her phone at the other. As a writer, I understand that creating a character is difficult work... But is it so difficult to stray from the archetypes just a little?
As I said, a lot of young women could use the morals that Invaluable
could use the morals it teaches, because I am worlds
away from what I want to be. As a self-help book alone, it could improve lives. As a novel/self-help/doctrine mash-up, though, Invaluable
didn't cut it for me.