cover image When We Were Young

When We Were Young

Karen Kingsbury. Howard, $23.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7001-0

Kingsbury (Redemption) investigates the dangers of striving for an Instagram-perfect life in this enjoyable novel centered on newlyweds Noah and Emily Carter. At 18, Emily chooses to become the sole caregiver for her sister, Clara, who has cerebral palsy. Her high school boyfriend, Noah Carter, is left isolated when his family moves to England after he graduates from high school, leaving him to attend college on a football scholarship with just Emily as support. After two concussions leave Noah with serious health issues, Emily and Clara nurse him back to health. Emily and Noah’s heavily documented relationship is seemingly perfect enough that it draws a large following on Instagram and substantial income from marketing deals. But the perfection crumbles when erratic Noah begins to believe their outward image is more important than reality. Kingsbury attempts to insert some suspense through a disconnected subplot involving recurring character Kari Baxter Taylor, but the side story will only interest those who have read previous books. This is a beat-the-odds story for fans of inspirational romance, written in Kingsbury’s familiar style of incorporating mini-sermons and Bible verses, cameos by members of the Baxter Family, and real-world Christian cultural references. While part of the Baxter collection, this standalone will appeal to any readers looking for faith-filled stories concerned with the deleterious effects of social media. (Oct.)