Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Review: Rafferty Lincoln Loves… by Emily Williams

If You’re Male, You’ll Probably See Some of Yourself in Raff Lincoln

Rafferty Lincoln Loves… is a fanciful, young-adult book about four teenagers who scarcely knew each other at school, but who bond to care for a horse they find.  The main character, Rafferty (Raff) Lincoln cares nothing about horses, but he’s idolized Liberty Ashburn for years.  So, when she becomes involved, so does he.  Much of the rest of the story is Raff trying to catch her eye, with more than one of his hapless attempts making me laugh aloud…like seeing if he can impress her with how fast he can ride his bike.  Other actions, however, made me cringe at his impulsiveness and ineptitude.  Liberty, on the other hand, is not easily swayed.  As the most popular girl in school, she wants everyone’s adoration, including Raff’s, but nothing more.  It might hurt her image.

The author sprinkles in several serious topics – the price of popularity (as I mentioned), the effect of confidences betrayed, bullying, and even child abuse.  At such times, one or more of the figures would come out of character and speak with wisdom beyond their years, making the story feel a bit artificial at that point.  But it is mostly light and humorous…until it gives way to a rather dramatic ending that will stay with you for a while.

It’s difficult to say who is the appropriate audience for this book.  The synopsis says, “…older young adults,” which is probably due to the language; Liberty’s use of profanity helps sell her image as the queen bee and Rafferty’s helps convey the heat of the moment.  But while the language says older, much of the action seems aimed at the younger end of the scale, like suggesting graffiti that says, “Rafferty Lincoln Loves…” would teach him a lesson.  Would young adults say anything to that beyond, ‘whatever?’  And several of Raff’s inner thoughts hardly seemed like they came from the mind of a sixteen-year-old boy, e.g., “She smelt of summer flowers and linen, probably just her washing powder fragrance. Heavenly.”

Finally, not to be overlooked – the proceeds from the book go to the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre, a very worthy cause.  So, you can feel good about your purchase, as you chuckle about Raff’s misfortunes and watch him grow as the pages turn.

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