Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall – Book Review

Posted October 12, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Giveaways /

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Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall - Book Review

Did you think that when you became a Christian all your problems would go away? That no matter what happened, Jesus would rescue you like a knight on a white horse swooping in to save the day?

I have to confess that I have thought that. After all, didn’t David say in Psalm 37:25

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

So that means that no matter what, everything is going to work out for my good. Oh yeah. Romans 8:28 too! Woohoo! Everything is going to be great!

Yet, being a Christian is not a guarantee that life will be a fairy tale. That there won’t be pain or sickness or grief. Bad things will happen. When David wrote that psalm as an old man, was he running from his son? Or grieving the death of his child? Or watching his beloved nation suffer a plague because of his own sins? We don’t know when he wrote it, only that he calls himself old. . .

Even David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered. Not because God didn’t love him but because we live in a fallen world. And we sin and face the consequences. Not eternal ones – because, yes, Jesus paid the price for our sin and we are forgiven.

It is important that we don’t buy into the “easy gospel” that says that we are going to have a life with no problems if we have enough faith.

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!

John 16:33

When your expectations are reasonable and based on promises of Scripture that are not taken out of context, you will not be blindsided when troubles come. You will be able to hold on to the truth that Jesus is with you always and is working things out for your good even when it is good for you to go through rough times.

Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall – Book Review

Fallen Leaves

by Tessa Emily Hall

Published by Illuminate YA Fiction
Publication Date October 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Christian Fiction
Setting: North Carolina Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 15-18
Written for: High-School/Young Adult, Middle-School
Pages: 380


Selena Taylor thought her only worry this fall was starting her junior year at a new arts school in North Carolina, miles away from home. But when she finds out her mom could graduate from rehab sooner than expected—even worse, she could work for her former nothing-but-trouble boss—Selena's determined to create a new life for them. Back in her childhood Kentucky hometown.

Step one? Track down her dad and brother that she hasn't seen in eight years. Her anxiety is put to the test, though, when she unveils a truth that could threaten her dreams. Add to that an art competition that pushes her outside of her comfort zone and a girl who seems determined to come between Selena and her hopeful boyfriend.

Soon Selena must decide whether or not to continue her search for her dad and brother. But is there any hope that the ruins of her broken family could be resurrected? And how could God possibly have a purpose in the midst of these changing seasons?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Selena suffered from anxiety, which was no surprise considering the things she had been through in her sixteen years of life. Wrested away from her dad and brother and made to believe that she was sent away. Living with and caring for an alcoholic mother, left to wonder if she would come home at night and what kind of condition she would be in when she got there.

But things were different now. Living with her aunt and uncle while her mom was in rehab. Finding again the faith of her father and putting her own life of partying behind her, Selena was ready to start her new school year at the prestigious art school and live the fairy tale she had always dreamed of.

While Selena had a crush on the next-door-neighbor, Austin, and their relationship was a large part of the story, it is hard to call this a romance. It was so much more about Selena growing in her relationship with Christ as she had to learn to trust Him even if her life wasn’t turning out as she expected.

The characters in the story were fleshed out in a way that I felt I really knew them. Her frenemy, snobbish cousin, the dreamy and oh-so-sweet Christian boy-next-door, her aunt who had taken her in. Oh, and her art teacher. Yeah, he was great!

One of the things I really appreciated about this is the way her “old life” of partying was mentioned but never glorified. Though she had turned to cigarettes and anxiety pills to help calm her, Selena knew that the lifestyle she had lived was but a false illusion and could bring no real or lasting happiness.

My emotions were all over the place as I read this book. As a baby Christian, Selena had to learn to trust God and to not act rashly. She made a bad choice due to jealousy and anger that had my heart thumping. Okay, it probably won’t have you reacting that way, but I get quite worked up watching characters do dumb things like this! At some moments I was laughing, others I was hoping, and yet others I had tears in my eyes. In other words, I was very emotionally invested in this story.

This is the second book of a series that is not specifically named on Amazon. It is a follow-up to Purple Moon which I have not read. The author did a great job of filling in details so I was not lost, but she still had me wanting to read that one as well. I’ve included a preview of that story at the very end of this post. All indications point to another book coming – not that there wasn’t a satisfying ending here, because there was, but it is clear that there is still more to be told.

Tessa's Fallen Leaves Pinterest Board

(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest) [gs_pinterest user="tessaemilyhall" board="fallen-leaves"]


(1) winner will receive a FALL KIT, consisting of:

  • a signed copy of Fallen Leaves
  • book swag
  • a fall candle
  • Starbucks Instant Pumpkin Spice Latte

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 8, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm October 15, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. US addresses only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Preview of Purple Moon

About Tessa Emily Hall

Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic books for teens to show them they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). In addition to being a frequent contributor to both online and print publications, Tessa’s debut novel was published while still in her teens. She’s the founder and editor-in-chief of PursueMagazine.net, a Christian teen magazine, and enjoys mentoring other young writers. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list.


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