In the third book of the series, one sentence stood out to me: Your first love isn't always your forever love. Although Kingsbury had invested years in the Cody and Bailey relationship and fans had grown to love them both as they read about their growth from teenagers finding their way to adults fulfilling their God directed destiny, I could buy that after so many missed chances for happiness, it was just too late for them. (Although, it could be argued that they had so many missed opportunities for love so that the publisher could drag out more books on the same people.) At the end of the third book, I knew I would be happy with whichever guy Bailey ended up marrying.
However, this series could have been wrapped up in two books. Because it was a four-book series, I felt the author was dragging out the story lines and ended up giving us the same story from a few years ago. This book could have been called Dayne and Katy Part Two. It was the same plot, and at Bailey's wedding, they even played the same song from Dayne and Katy's wedding. I skimmed through most of the Bailey and Brandon scenes because I felt like I was rereading the Fame series.
I'm a character-driven reader. Bailey was one of my favorite characters in the Baxter series, but she became stagnant and boring. I grew tired of hearing her thoughts, going back and forth between loving Brandon and not wanting to live in LA. Readers heard all that before in Katy. I felt she never struggled and therefore never grew. She was a flat character. I liked Brandon in the third book, but he became tedious in this book. Too perfect. Too predictable. I don't know if that's because Kingsbury based them on her family and therefore didn't want to write about their flaws, but it made for a boring read.
Cody is an amazing character. He struggled, he messed up, and he grew. I loved the Cody and Andi scene at the beach, and I love the redemption in both their lives. I didn't like how fast they "fell" for each other, but at least they seem real. The most touching scene was when Andi was able to see the little boy she gave away for adoption. Kingsbury should stick to stories like that instead of celebrity-driven plots based on her family.
Kingsbury's books have always been about real life experiences. Sometimes they are too real and I long for a happy ending. :) But, this series was too unbelievable and far-fetched to be life-changing fiction.