Opportunity Knocks Twice: Tyler

Although I’m a Christian, I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction and not a great deal of Christian romance. I gravitate towards the ones set in the apocalypse, the fictional retellings of biblical stories or stories set in that Ancient Roman time period. I think the reason I don’t read a lot of Christian romance is because a lot of times the faith feels…just put in there instead of developing organically.

I think the Brio series is the one Christian series set in contemporary times that I enjoy. Not only do I enjoy, but I feel like they tackle a lot of issues that I was going through as I read them. Brio is a magazine for Christian girls and they created this book series. It revolves around four girls (three christian, one non) and their guy friend, each book focusing on one character of the group.

While the series has a very strong opinion about what is right and what is wrong, the characters are not perfect and the characters have believable struggles instead of just knowing the right answer.

Opportunity Knocks Twice focuses on the Tyler, the boy of the group. He’s a nice, goofy guy who plays guitar and enjoys hanging out with his Brio friends. (They call themselves that because his mom works for Brio magazine so they’re always involved with it. They all met as children in a secret spot on the playground where they’d play pretend games. Awww)

As established in previous books, Tyler has a big crush on new addition to the group Hannah. She’s sweet and blonde and pretty…but it’s not going to happen. Hannah was raised in a strict but loving Christian home and was homeschooled until this junior year of high school. She and her family believe in Courtship.

So..Courtship. It’s a practice/belief by some Christians that the purpose of dating is to find a spouse. Therefore, Hannah will not be dating anytime soon. And when she does, it will be under the supervision of her parents. Sometimes it is done like Hannah, sometimes it is done with the input of the pastor or trusted adult friends. It does seem extreme but it can also be appealing to those who want to insure that their relationship is centered around their faith.

Hannah is not available. Which isn’t so fun for him. Then to complicate things, in comes his ex-girlfriend Jessica. Jessica is the opposite of Hannah–she’s vivacious, dark haired and spoiled which should be the clue that she’s not THE ONE for Tyler but she also obviously cares about Tyler and has a spark to her. Frankly though, Tyler should have been warned off knowing her names was Jessica.*

*my best friend is named Jessica and she has agreed in the past that all the really witchy girls seem to have this name

The book centers around both Tyler’s debating over which girl he should choose and Tyler’s growing uncomfortableness with his friends. See, he hangs out with some jocky types and while they all seem pretty decent, one in particular named JP is the incarnate of douchey jock. As seen in the locker room scene where they’re all..talking lockier room talk about girls.

“Tyler, Tyler” J.P. said, now chewing energetically. “These are the simple facts of life. Girls…” He gazed toward the ceiling with a faraway look in his eye, and gestured with both hands. He had a grinning, appreciative audience and he knew how to play it. “Girls are like flowers. Some choose one color, some choose another. Some have long, modest petals, others are short and sassy. But all of those flower have petals for the same reason.” He looked back down, right into Tyler’s eyes. “To attract some bee to come pollinate ’em, baby”

The locker room erupted in cheers and laughter.

“For some,” J.P. went on, “it’s just a tease. Others mean it big time. But don’t fool yourself, my friend. They are not ignorant of how their clothes affect you.

Not being a guy I don’t know how realistic this is but I’m assuming it can’t be as bad as J.P. I hope. Tyler is not pleased by this especially as he realizes that his sister Tyra could be talked about like this in a middle school locker room. And the boys later mention his close friend Jacie who is “stacked” and Solana who…well she is a tease. But he’s pretty ticked when they talk about her.

But it also stays with him as he’s talking to Hannah right after the locker room scene.

Look at her face, Tyler urged himself as she looked up, saw him, and smiled. She was walking down the sidewalk toward him, a few books under one arm. Just look at her face. But despite himself, he was aware that, even though no one at their school dressed more modestly than Hannah–today, it was an ankle-length skirt with a baggy, long-sleeved shirt–the body beneath was slender and shapely and moved with a natural swinging grace that made you aware of her body despite the clothes.

There’s also a plotline where to “help” Tyler, Jessica uses her connections to get a band together. Which Tyler…isn’t sure how he feels about it. They don’t mesh well in the first place.  And he realises that if he did stick it out with them, they’d be playing venues he’s not old enough to go to and doesn’t really want to go to anyway. His goal is to play Christian music and serve God with that music. But he can’t get Jessica to understand that.

Over time, Tyler realises that he and Jessica are from different worlds. She flies through life and though sweet to Tyler, isn’t as mature as she is exciting and pretty. So that should clear up the triangle right?

Haha. Wrong.

“Well, surprise, surprise. Hannah wasn’t about to change her commitment to courtship so she could date me. And when I sat down with Jessica this week to carefully explain that even though she and I could date, I  wasn’t looking into anything exclusive, she burst out laughing.”

Turns out in the end, it wasn’t about who he was going to end up with. It’s the growth and understanding.

I haven’t read the series in entirety, just a book here or there. But I can tell you that the later books took me where I didn’t think it would. Hannah, the epitome of the good Christian girl faces a tragedy and a real season of doubt concerning the faith that she has always relied on. And Tyler (though I can’t be sure as I haven’t read the last book) may not eventually win Hannah in the end when she’s finally read to court.

I feel weird grading Tyler because he’s the teenage hero of a Christian book. I think I’ll just grade his best and worst qualities XD.

Best Qualities: his integrity, his deep faith, his love for his friends and family

Worst Qualities: he can sometimes be dense when it comes to why his female friends are so mad at him at various points in the book

Man Grade: B+


1 Response to “Opportunity Knocks Twice: Tyler”

  1. 1 Jessica July 11, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Not bad, not bad. I like that the Christian girl (Hannah) goes through some real life issue. And thank you for your little note about Jessica’s. Some of us can be good, so there. Love ya and good grade. Though I’m a little too old to read that kinda thing… and I’ve never really liked romance anyway… It’s good to know that it’s out there. Maybe I’ll be able to convince Christina to read it, sounds like it would be good for her.

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