‘Destiny’ by Cindy Ray Hale focused on the desired romance between Destiny Clark and Isaac Robinson. The fact that the two are basically star-crossed in that they belong to two different religions – Baptist and Mormon – forms the crux of the plot. While Destiny and her brother Michael still go to Bethel, a Baptist high school, they have changed – or, in their opinion, added – to their beliefs by taking on the teachings of Mormonism.
It was made abundantly clear in the story that Baptists and Mormons do not see eye to eye on anything. The bullying factor was extremely evident, and it will make one who doesn’t know much about either of these religions wonder if it is always to that extent. The author grew up Mormon going to a Baptist school as well, so readers can be pretty certain that the ideas are true to life, but it seems overly ridiculous that people who are supposed to be religious and accepting, or at least tolerant, of others’ beliefs, can be so inwardly focused and unable to see anyone else’s perspective, even if just for a brief moment.
Despite the fact that people may be as narrow-minded about religion as they were portrayed in the story, it was nice to see a few of the characters go beyond those expectations and show kindness toward one another. These few moments of clarity were quite welcome due to the overwhelming sense of hate and upset that was brought about much of the rest of the time throughout the story.
While Isaac spends the beginning chapters of the story with Aspen, his attraction to Destiny grows, but his interest isn’t always abundantly clear. It seems at first that he only wants to get to know her in order to convert her back, but he also seems attracted to her, so it never seems quite certain what his motivation is, or if it’s a combination of the two. However, as the story goes on, this is cleared up.
It is quite understandable how two people of different faiths can get caught up in a lack of empathy for each other, and that is why it was especially interesting how Hale brought the story of Les Miserables into the plot. The way that the choir director cast the characters based on the real-life personalities of those he was casting brought a much needed symbolic level of interest to the reading, and helped the characters better shine as who they really were rather than who everyone thought they should be.
A story that encapsulates many ideas, including love, hate, empathy (or the lack thereof), jealousy, grief, hypocrisy, trust, and so much more, ‘Destiny’ makes it clear that there is still much to be learned about how to best get along with people and understand their perspectives. Even in this day and age, we’re still behind the times in being able to do this well.
You can find ‘Destiny’ by Cindy Ray Hale here.
*Review originally posted at YABooksCentral.com*