From the quirky cover, I assumed For the Love of Big Orange featured a quirky, retro-lovin’ heroine in a light story. Leta Gail Doerr’s book surprised me with its gravitas and ability to keep me hooked. Lacie Joe bounced through Kentucky’s foster care system until a rural judge and his wife took her in. Her reputation as a troubled teen made her a target and an outsider in the small town. When an accident occurred shortly after high school graduation, Lacie Joe left town in her orange truck and reinvented herself in the big city of Lexington. When the judge’s health fails, Lacie Joe returns to look after him. Her past and present collide as she makes amends with those she wronged in the past, including ex-boyfriend Jay Hayworth, and salvage her Lexington based program for at-risk youth.
Lacie Joe is a complicated character, one who tries hard but doesn’t always make the right decision. She had blind spots in her personal and professional life and may be guilty of self-sabotage. In other words, she is perfectly relatable. The light mystery element played out in a predictable manner, but didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment. This novella was a charming way to spend an afternoon and all for less than a cup of coffee at a fast food chain. It’s hard to say too much about the plot without giving away the story and you know I try to keep spoiler free. If you want a slice of life escape, take a ride in Big Orange.
I also want to add that this probably would be considered a New Adult based on the lead character’s age, but to me it read more like women’s fiction. Romance isn’t front and center and the heroine isn’t bed-hopping to find her true self (a plot device that seems to have taken over the New Adult genre). This is more about the heroine’s journey to understand her place in this world.
I make no money reviewing books in The January Project, but if this one sounds good to you, here are some buy links.