Review: Gideon Lee by Lisa Orchard

Gideon LeeGideon Lee
(The Starlight Chronicles #1)
by Lisa Orchard
YA Contemporary
Paperback & ebook131 Pages
October 21st 2014 by Eskape Press


Lark Singer’s relationship with her mother is prickly to say the least. As she enters a musical competition that could launch her career, Lark also searches for answers her mother would rather keep hidden. Throw into the mix the fact her best friend Bean has been acting strangely, and Lark finds herself launched into uncharted territory. Will her quest for answers sabotage her musical aspirations?


My Review

Gideon Lee was a quick and heartbreaking, but hopeful read. I know those are two kind of conflicting sentiments. The story had grit, friendship, family, difficult circumstances, the hierarchy of high school... This is the first book in this series and there definitely was that feeling of getting to know these characters and the plot being developed, but it felt fairly flawless and smooth as a reader being invited into Lark's world.

The main character, Lark, was definitely an angsty (I know that's not an official word, but it should be in ya literature) teen. She really didn't get along with her mother who she calls by her first name, Francine. It was such a tough relationship to read about, especially as a mother myself. Both of them were so blind in so many ways and it was a little frustrating and sad. At the same time, I could see where they were each coming from and how the tension and animosity had built up over all these years.

It was also difficult to see the signs with Lark's best friend, Bean. That really, really broke my heart. The denial. The lying. The fact that Lark doesn't want to see it and so she won't be honest about it with Bean. So tough! I'm sure this will really come to a head as the series develops. Thank goodness Lark had Cassie. I would have liked to have seen more develop with Cassie and with the story overall. I'm hoping we'll get more of that and Cassie in the future. I would say that I would also have liked more explanation behind Gideon Lee, which Lark writes a school paper on in the beginning of the book, especially with him also being the title of the book. It would have been cool if his persona would have been worked into the story more or maybe some lyrics or something from him.

I ended up really enjoying Gideon Lee. There were choices that Lark had to make and work through, or I should say, begin to work through. The ending left a lot to be resolved and I can already tell that the rest of the series is going to be a difficult and painful journey for Lark. I'm hoping it will also be a journey of discovery and love for her, her mom, and Bean. Hopefully they will come to terms with things, find themselves, and it will all end in a good place. I'm definitely planning on seeing where this series will be going.

Content: Some swearing and drug references.

Source: From the author, which did not affect my review in any way.

Excerpt from Chapter One

I want to be like Gideon Lee. My lips move as I read the title of my essay. They twitch as I stifle a snicker. Looking around the room, I make sure no one has seen my facial tic. My eyes light upon the Presidents’ pictures lined up on the wall. They face me, each with a unique expression, and I wonder what they were thinking while they posed. They are above the clock so my gaze naturally falls on it. It’s almost time for lunch.

I settle back in my seat and my lips twitch again. A feeling of defiant exhilaration washes over me like a tidal wave.

Montgomery’s going to freak when he reads this.

Despite my best efforts, a giggle escapes and the boy in front of me turns around and gives me the evil eye. I return the glare. He is slumped over, and sweat beads on his upper lip. I think this is odd — it’s rather chilly in the room — but dismiss it before I turn back to my essay.

I bet old man Montgomery doesn’t even know who Gideon Lee is. This thought sends another giggle to the surface, but I quickly squash it by biting my lip.

I picture him searching Gideon Lee’s name on the Internet. I see his expression changing from confusion to disgust. I imagine him taking off his black, thick-rimmed glasses and shaking his head. I hear him mutter, “Lark Singer, what are you doing?” He rubs his face. I can actually hear the rough sandpapery sound as his hand finds his day old stubble. He sighs and puts his glasses back on. “What am I going to do with you?”

I remember when Mr. Montgomery first told us about the assignment. We were supposed to write an essay on someone we admire, someone who has contributed to society in some way. I know when he says this he wants us to write about an a historical figure. After all this is history class, but I raised my hand anyway.

“Lark,” he called out as he stood at his lectern.

“Do they have to be dead?”

He cocked his head as he studied me with his piercing blue eyes. Then he ran his hand over his military style crew cut, and I watched as his salt and pepper hair flattened then popped back into place as if each hair was standing at attention. I could tell he wasn’t sure where this was going. “Well… I guess not.” That’s when he froze, as if he realized he had just opened a door for me and he wasn’t going to like what was on the other side. He shifted his weight, and looked down at the floor before he backpedaled. “But they have to have made a positive contribution to society. It can’t be about a mobster or anything like that.” Pursing his lips, he stared at me, fiddling with those glasses. “This is one half of your semester grade, Lark. I wouldn’t pull any funny stuff.”

“Oh, I won’t. Scout’s honor,” I answered sweetly, placing my hand over my heart and giving him the scout salute, while inside I planned my rebellion.

I have him. I’m going to write about Gideon Lee, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

About the Author

Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. Hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade, she even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. Her first series, “The Super Spies,” has reached bestseller status.

After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree, she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side. The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on a Coming of Age Young Adult series called The Starlight Chronicles. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

What do you think? Will you be picking this one up?


  1. This sounds good. I like stories like this with family, friends and character growth

  2. Cali Willette11/6/14, 11:18 AM

    Great review. This book sounds really cute. ;)

  3. "Angsty" is a perfectly good word. I like this cover, but not sure this book is for me.

  4. I do too, so hopefully this series will pull through. :)

  5. It was cute, although emotional too.

  6. I can see that. I really love the cover too!


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