Anika Writes Her Soldier by Kelsie Stelting

Anika Writes Her Soldier Cover

G-rated, semi-Christian, YA romance with a romantic triangle

Anika Writes Her Soldier (The Texas High Series #4) by Kelsie Stelting

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Pages: 230 pages
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Anika, an 18-year-old high school senior, becomes pen pals with Shawn, a 23-year-old soldier stationed in the Middle East, as part of a writing assignment in her English class. Both are from tiny towns in Texas and have similar rural backgrounds. Over a few months of regular snail-mail correspondence with each other (no explanation as to why they don’t email each other), Anika and Shawn grow very emotionally close. However, at the same time this budding romance is developing, Anika begins dating a boy her own age whom she has known her whole life and develops strong romantic feelings for him as well. Kyle is the classic, “boy next door,” who lives on the ranch down the road from hers and, as such, also shares a similar, rural, Texas background with her. In addition, both men are gorgeous, sensitive, respectful and compassionate. Which one will Anika choose?

Sad to say, this novel, marketed as a “romance,” is not a true romance plot, defined as the reader knowing from the start of the book who the romantic hero is, the man with whom the heroine will enjoy her HEA. Instead, this YA novel offers a romantic triangle. As such, it has reinforced my personal vow to always pass by such plots, because this heroine does NOT end up with the guy I liked the most of her two equally wonderful choices. In addition, romantic triangles always make me feel like the heroine is cheating on both guys. And it makes me sad that she is inevitably going to break the heart of one of them, and doubly sad when it is the guy I like the best!

Readers who don’t mind romantic triangles may enjoy this book. Also, readers who like YA novels with Christian elements that directly contribute to the personal ethics of all the main characters may be happy with this book for that reason alone.

By the way, if you want to read an epistolary novel where the heroine is pen pals with a soldier which is done really well, and is a classic romance with no cheating, try Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata. It is one of her very best books. It is not G-rated, but it is “slow burn,” as is the case with all her books.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 3

First Hero (Soldier): 5

Second Hero (Boy Next Door): 4

Epistolary Romance Plot: 5

Competing Romance: 3

Romantic Triangle Plot: 2

Writing: 3

Overall: 3

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