by Susan Auten
Bayley Albrecht’s dream is to play soccer on BYU’s South Field. When she is invited to soccer camp the summer before her senior year in high school, she just knows she’s one step closer to her dream. Things get even better when she meets Matt Macauley, the star of the men’s soccer team. When they decide to write each other while Matt is on his mission, Bayley figures her life can’t get any better. But it certainly can get worse . . .
After she receives a minor concussion from playing soccer, Bayley discovers she had a disease called alopecia which causes her to lose her hair. As Bayley struggles to deal with the reality of her baldness she finds herself having to make some tough decisions. Can she still play soccer? Does she even want to? More importantly, should she tell Matt? And will he still want her when she does? Becoming Bayley is the story of one girl’s journey through self-discovery, of the definition of true love, and of the realization that as a daughter of God, she is of infinite worth.
By Mary, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I was laying in bed the other night and I decided I wanted to start a new book before bed. I grabbed my kindle and I knew exactly what I was in the mood for. I'd had Becoming Bayley on my wish list for a few days and couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I purchased it and I'd only gotten 2% into the book and I knew I was going to stay up all night to finish it. I knew I was going to love it and I knew it was going to be an un-put-down-able book. I didn't know how this story would affect me.
I love the style Becoming Bayley is written in. It feels so natural. Nothing is forced or cheesy. It's just...real. The dialogue feels like conversations I've had. Or ones I wish I'd had. I actually got giddy when Matt and Bayley met on South Field the last night of soccer camp. It was perfect. I had to re-read the scene twice before I could move on.
Bayley writes Matt on his mission but while he is away she has several trials of her own. She has alopecia. A condition that makes her lose her hair. While I was reading her struggle I felt like I was actually living it. Or that I was her mother at least. "When you hurt, I hurt." I found myself bawling into my pillow at 2am because of all I was feeling for her. Here sister and mother both perform an act of love for Bayley that still has me tearing up. I was feeling all my emotions during her struggle and my heart broke for her. I love the way author Susan Auten literally shows us how Christ can heal our wounds however big or small. What a powerful message.
Bayley stops writing Matt on his mission when she feels that she can't tell him about her hair loss. The love story from there actually look my breath away. When I finished the book I wouldn't actually put the book down. I was afraid of losing some it it's magic. I sat with the book in my hands and flipped to my favorite parts just to capture a little bit more before I had to close it. There were times I laughed and cried and moments that took my breath away. I'm not sorry I didn't get to sleep until 4am. I felt like I was allowed a glimpse into the trials, life and love of Bayley and Matt. This won't be the last time I read their story. I know I'll pick it up again in the future and I'll be able to feel all those wonderful feelings again. Bravo. Becoming Bayley is a truly beautiful book and I loved it. Every minute of it.
By Holly, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Every now and then I come across a new author that makes me think, "Where has this person been hiding?". I know I'll read whatever they put out. Susan Auten is one of those authors.
When I began reading this story I was a little concerned it was moving too fast to allow me to feel a connection with the characters, but that concern quickly dropped away as I became engrossed in the plot. The dialogue is fantastic and the characters felt very real. Bayley is the type of person you'd want to be friends with. There were several moments when I laughed out loud, a few times when I cried, and even times when I felt the Spirit as I read. And of course my favorite part---the romance! I can't say enough about how much I loved the romantic element of the story. It was written in such a realistic and sweet way that you couldn't help but feel involved. With a brand new baby in the house sleep is a precious commodity, but I couldn't stop reading to find out what was going to happen!
I'd never heard of alopecia before and now have a whole new level of sympathy and respect for people who suffer from it. In addition to that, I feel like the lessons Bayley learns on her journey are applicable to anyone who has struggled with physical ailments and wondered "why me?" There are such tender lessons to be learned here.
In order for me to give a book 5 stars it has to have two components: one, that I want to read it again. Two, that I continue to think about the story long after I've finished it. This book absolutely filled both of those requirements for me. It's a rare gem. I'm anxiously looking forward to what Auten puts out next!
By Rachel, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is one of those books that you would rather stay up until 2 am reading even though you know you have an early morning chasing your kiddos and really need your sleep. My twelve-year-old sister also loved it and devoured it in two days. The author has a gift for character development and romance. I want to put this book on my shelf and read it annually. I would also love to use this as a book club book for my young women. When is it going to come out in paperback? Finally a YA romance that stays within the For Strength of Youth boundaries. This author is awesome!!
By Cathy, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Bayley is a 17 year-old-girl. She loves to play soccer and she's kind of a tomboy, much to the dismay of her younger sister Fin. Fin is always trying to get Bayley to wear things like mascara and lip gloss and to do something different with her hair, but Bayley wants nothing to do with it, until she goes to soccer camp at BYU and sees the awesome BYU soccer player, Matt Macauley. When her roommates at the camp realize that she really likes Matt, they convince her that she's going to need to look her very best to get him to look her way. They trim help her with her hair and makeup, and just when Bayley thinks that it was all for naught and he's not going to see her anyway, he catches her on South Field. She's not supposed to be there, but the gate was open and she thought that no one would ever know. Matt challenges her to a game of PIG and then insists on walking her home, but he doesn't ask for her address so he can write her while he's on his mission. Fate steps in and allows her to see his car on her way back to Wyoming, and she decides to be brave and leave her address there. Just when she thinks it must have blown away, she receives a letter from him, and is surprised to learn that he felt the same connection to her that she felt to him. Soon, however, Bayley's life will change forever with the onset of alopecia, a disease that causes her to lose her hair. Bayley can't see how anyone, especially Matt, will ever love her in spite of her baldness.
I LOVED this book! Bayley was such an amazingly strong girl. I loved her at the beginning and I loved her character even more as the book progressed. I was amazed at the way that her "friends" from her high school treated her after she lost her hair. I can't even imagine being treated the way she was. I loved Matt, his character was amazing, he was the perfect boyfriend for this book. I can't believe how real the characters seemed to me in this one. I finished this one yesterday, but I kind of still feel like I'm in Bayley's world, thinking about soccer and alopecia. I loved the way that Bayley relates the women with the issue of blood from the New Testament to herself and her own situation, it made me think of this familiar story in a different way than I ever have before, I love it when that happens.
By hayley, Submitted on 2015-02-25
this book is amazing and is, for sure, in my top five. what i mainly love about this book is that bayley get alopecia and starts to build walls to block herself out of reality and then later in the book she takes chances and starts tearing down some walls. this book is amazing and i have recommended it to all of my friends.
By Becky, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I picked this up before a long road trip, and I’m so glad I did! For 5 hours I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Becoming Bayley”. Susan Auten has the gift of being able to put you right in the shoes of Bayley, and force you to contemplate how you see yourself, and how much of what you see determines your self worth. I loved the honesty of the characters and the complicated nature of human beings. This book left me feeling uplifted, more self aware, and conscious of how I look on others. I’m looking forward to reading more of Susan’s books!
By Melanie, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I love this story. Bayley is stubborn but lovable and I enjoyed her journey and watching her grow.
By Paul, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Way beyond soccer- this is a story of how you look at yourself and how you look at others. With love. Author captured an endearing, realistic young woman and spun a story that will keep you turning the pages. Can't wait for her next one.