I really enjoyed this story for the most part. Zack and Joanna's relationship is very sweet for their ages and I think it would bring up fond memories for many. I will suggest this story to some of my friends.
Here's why I couldn't give it a five.
There were a few spots where I felt the religious conversations went overboard. Typically, fifteen years olds don't have opinions or real knowledge about abortion issues. They spout off what they've heard and been they must believe so when I hear it, I shake my head. At that age, I don't feel they are capable of having enough knowledge to form their own opinion.
The other part was the impromtu bible study at the campground. It was ok at first, but when Zack brought up gay marriage the whole thing turned into the author preaching rather than sticking with the topic at hand, marriage between Zack and Joanna. I think it if the topic was to be discussed, it could have done at another time once the current lecture had sunk in.
And it bothered me that her father, as religious as he was, didn't once quote the King James Bible.
I would have liked to have seen something toward the end of the story between Zack and his parents. They were pretty much left out of his life. He should have explained his intentions with Joanna, they should have met her parents before the wedding and so on.
I think a good editor or proofreader could have helped improve the writing of the story. 'so' was an over used word I noticed. 'alright' was used quite often and well, it's never accepted - it's not a word.
The last chapter jumped ahead an entire year - it should have been labeled as an epilogue instead of a chapter.
I was rather perturbed that we weren't allowed to see them grow and lose some of the immaturity they had. In this ending - I found the sex to be without real passion. Before when they'd kiss and get passionate, you could feel it. When they are finally allowed to make love on their wedding night, they simply lay down and do it - there is no passionate kissing, no kind of foreplay at all - they simply do it. Where was the pain of her losing her virginity?
(review of free book)