Book Review: Unconventional

6 May

YOUNG JAMES FROST just knows, deep in his bones, that he’s a writer. He writes far into early mornings, after his wearying hours of scrubbing toilets and sweeping floors. He loves writing that much.

But it’s not only the joy of words that keeps him grinding; it’s his desire to retire the janitor’s mop. He sees being published as the key to living an improved life. James has another deep-seated conviction: that he’s not good enough. He secretly longs to be accepted. However, the conventional others in his life seem all too willing to remind him that he’s wasting his time.

Then he meets and falls in love with Leigh, the one bright spot in his endless misery of self-doubt. A quiet but resolutely religious girl, she has to fight off disapproval of her own from overly critical parents, whose insults are countered by James’s often-voiced admiration of her. Likewise, Leigh’s faith in his talents begins to build his confidence, eventually allowing her to introduce him to a different way to help himself: relying on God.

Ultimately, James’s newfound faith is sorely tested to the point of doubt when his dream to be published seems to melt into a mirage, smothered by countless rejection slips from agents and publishers. His faith is also battered by having to fight highly emotional battles and suffer fear and loss. Just when James appears hopelessly sapped by devastating events, one last door opens, and he’s rocked by an epiphany.

UNCONVENTIONAL is designed to inspire readers to reach for their dreams. Buy this book. Read it. Share it with everyone you know. You—and they—will be glad you did!


J. J. Hebert is a writer. Surprising, huh? He has written fifty-two novels, including the immensely successful, award-winningWillard’s Heart. J. J.’s also an archaeologist, and he recently unearthed an ancient religious scroll in Jerusalem that, in time, will prove absolutely nothing about anything important. He presently resides in Yemen, where he enjoys being the richest man in the land.

Of course, the aforementioned isn’t true (except for the “J. J. Hebert is a writer” part), but you found it entertaining, right? Perhaps just a little funny?

Honestly: J. J. Hebert’s debut novel, Unconventional (paperback), became an best-seller in three categories on July 19, 2009. The Kindle version has been the #1 Inspirational Book in the Kindle Store numerous times. J.J. is also the founder of MindStir Media, which helps authors successfully self-publish and distribute books worldwide. Currently, he lives alone in New England, home to some of the greatest sports teams in the world (for now), where he’s at work on his latest novel, Saving Dad, and a children’s book, Weepy the Dragon.

My Impressions:

The greatest and most inspiring achievements are not produced by those who conform to society’s idea of normal, but by those who courageously adopt the unconventional.

Thus begins J J Hebert’s debut novel titled Unconventional.  James Frost is the unconventional hero of the book. Told in first person/present tense, James exposes the inner world of a struggling writer and the inner world of a struggling young man.  Beautifully written, Unconventional is in turn hopeful and desperate, inspiring and depressing — allowing the reader to experience all the emotions — fear, doubt, self-lothing, hope, elation, love — James faces in his quest to become a published author.

James Frost works as a janitor in order to pursue his dream of “playing-pretend-on-paper”.  He has his cheerleaders — mentor Mitch, editor Arthur, girlfriend Leigh, and novelist Meranda.  But it is the voices of the nay-sayers, past and present — his dad, his co-worker, high school bully Brad and Leigh’s parents — that continue to haunt him and undermine any value he finds in his own work.

At first, I didn’t like James.  He seemed awfully whiny.  A loser who wouldn’t go to college, who wouldn’t get a decent job.  But James’ life became my own.  I longed to join in with the positive voices to tell him to keep at it, follow his dream.  Yes, the book really grew on me.  In fact I think it is one of the best novels I have read this year.

Like its title, the book is a bit unconventional — a Christian novel with angst, sexual longing, bitter thoughts, loss and resentment.  I found it refreshing, and the ending is so wonderful I shed some tears.  Sometimes hilarious, sometimes causing the heart to hurt, Unconventional is a book worth reading and savoring and remembering long after the cover closes.  I am looking forward to more great books from J J Hebert.

Highly Recommended.

(I received Unconventional from Pump Up Your Book in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Would you like to purchase Unconventional?  If so, follow this link —  Unconventional

Unconventional Virtual Book Tour Schedule

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Monday, May 2
Book reviewed at Carlybird’s Home

Tuesday, May 3
Interviewed at Examiner

Wednesday, May 4
Interviewed at Blogcritics

Thursday, May 5
Interviewed at Literarily Speaking

Friday, May 6
Book reviewed at By the Book

Monday, May 9
Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

Tuesday, May 10
Interviewed at The Book Connection

Wednesday, May 11
Guest at Literarily Speaking’s May 2011 Book Panel

Thursday, May 12
Guest blogging at The Book Bin

Friday, May 13
Book reviewed at Reviews From the Heart

Monday, May 16

Book Reviewed at Life in Review

Tuesday, May 17
Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Wednesday, May 18
Book reviewed at Write to the Heart

Thursday, May 19
Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz

Friday, May 20
Book reviewed & book giveaway at Book Reviews by Molly

Monday, May 23
Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, May 24
Book reviewed at The Creative Studio

Wednesday, May 25
Guest blogging at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, May 26
Interviewed at Review From Here

Friday, May 27
Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama
Chat & Book Giveaway at Pump Up Your Book’s Authors on Tour May 2011 Facebook Party

2 Responses to “Book Review: Unconventional”

  1. J.J. Hebert May 6, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Thank you so much for your fabulous review! Would you mind posting it on Amazon? That would be great!

    • rbclibrary May 6, 2011 at 11:24 am #

      I would be glad to. Thanks for stopping by.

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