When Maddi Benson moves in next door to Jaxon Quayle, neither of them knows how much life is about to change. Jaxon knows he should date only girls who share his faith, but as he gets to know Maddi he wants his new neighbor to be more than a friend. To make things even more complicated, there’s Maddi’s twin brother Hadley (or Hadley-Hadley, as he calls himself), who has special needs and always seems to be hanging around, and Jaxon’s pal Tanner, who feels more than a little left out. Jaxon feels hopeful when the Bensons begin to consider joining the Church, which would solve at least one of his problems. But just when things seem to be working out, a horrible prank seems to make everything fall apart, leaving Maddi and Jaxon caught in the middle of doubt and faith, hurt and forgiveness, friendship and love.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Hadley-Hadley Benson when I received the copy for review. I liked the cover, but found the title to be a little strange. However, once you start reading it, the title makes perfect sense, and is really a good fit for the book.
Jody Wind Durfee's debut novel is very good YA Fiction. The main character (and many others) are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Religion takes a big enough part in the story that readers not familiar with the Church and its beliefs might be a little confused at times, but it is an excellent story that could tug at any reader's heart.
The characters are excellent! Though some of the story has lighter teen issues, there are some serious situations that really pull a reader in. Having a character with Autism was somewhat unique, and in some ways Hadley's actions were eye opening.
Hadley-Hadley Benson is a touching story with good lessons. Congrats to Jody Wind Durfee on her debut novel. I look forward to reading more of her work!
I received a copy of Hadley- Hadley Benson from a signing by the author at the LDSBA convention and truly had no idea what to expect. The only thing I knew is that I liked the red chucks on the cover. As soon as I started reading the sweet newness of a High School crush and the every day trials of living with a loved one on the autism spectrum, I jumped all the way in. I absolutely beam inside when an author chooses to integrate and feature a character with ASD or special needs, and Jody Wind Durfee does it well. My heart was tugged over the trials Hadley Benson's family and friends go though to protect both his innocence and his spirit.
Told in the perspective of Jaxon Quayle, a soccer star and ordinary next door neighbor to the Benson family, this is a story of forgiveness and hope. Jaxon knows from the second Maddi Benson moves in that she is someone he wants to get to know better, but Hadley keeps somehow tagging along. Jaxon has a lot of growing up to do and readers get to see his character develop in testimony and awareness of others. Each chapter is very short, which I actually liked. There were only a few glitches in long paragraphs of simple conversation that slowed the pacing of the book, but I sat down and read it all in one Saturday afternoon, finishing in tears.
Jody has written a relevant and heartfelt YA contemp for the LDS and general audience that I would happily recommend, youth or adult. Her sweet understanding of special needs youth and their caregivers is a message that needs to be shared and I'm so glad she took the time to write Hadley- Hadley Benson!
This is a wonderful story about friendship, high school "things" (like fitting in, dates, peer pressure, pranks, competition), unconditional love, big mistakes and forgiveness. It's easy to get to know each character and to feel what they're feeling - great writing! Even made me cry!
If Hadley Benson were writing this review he would say...
"This book is EXCELLENT, uh-huh, MOST EXCELLENT!"
For it truly is!
Fun and light, yet deep and solemn too.
Many things to think about including how we treat each other and why we are here.
I fell in love with the characters immediately...all of them!
I LOVE the way they interact with each other! Not always perfect, but real and with flaws....which made the story all the more interesting to read.
Jaxon wants nothing more than to escape BEFORE he has to help the new neighbors move in. That is until he sees their daughter Maddi. Then he is all smiles and muscles and can think of nothing he wants to do more than help them lift their heavy boxes.
While holding said heavy box Jaxon literally runs into Maddi's twin brother, Hadley.
Hadley is standing with his hand in hand-shaking mode saying "Hello, I'm Hadlye-Hadley Benson."
Jaxon tries to explain that his hands are full with the heavy box.
But Maddi yells at him "just put it down and shake his hand. He won't move until you do."
And so starts the sometimes awkward friendship between Jaxon, Maddi, and Hadley-Hadley Benson.
And "just when things seem to be working out, a horrible prank seems to make everything fall apart, leaving Maddi and Jaxon caught in the middle of doubt and faith, hurt and forgiveness, friendship and love."
I'm not a big YA reader but I was reccommended this book and read it nearly one sitting. The part that stood out to me was the growth of the main character (Jaxon-Jaxon Quayle) as he confronted Hadley, who he didn't understand and who seemed to be in the way of Jaxon getting to know Hadley's sister. What Jaxon ends up learning is to put to use the things he's been taught, the beliefs he's taken for granted, and that we can learn so much from those people who are the least like us. Really loved this book which was well thought out, well written, and thought provoking--regardless of whether you're a YA Audience or not. I hope to see more books from this author in the future.