Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Varian Johnson
This was not only a wonderful book for young adults that deals truthfully with the hard-learned lessons of maturing in a world of rules and regulations, but it’s also a great book for parents who need to see the problems that arise when our youth try their best to be the saints that so many of us want them to be
Author: Varian Johnson
This was not only a wonderful book for young adults that deals truthfully with the hard-learned lessons of maturing in a world of rules and regulations, but it’s also a great book for parents who need to see the problems that arise when our youth try their best to be the saints that so many of us want them to be. My mother used to hate the words, “I need to find myself,” that teenagers had the tendency to utter at their parents. But…those words still ring true, and this particular YA deals with the subject extremely well.
Our story deals with a young man by the name of Joshua Wynn. Joshua is beyond the realm of a “good kid.” In fact, he’s almost saint-like. He is the son of Reverend Isaiah P. Wynn, and this kid is every mother’s dream. Joshua leads the youth group at church; he’s in the choir; and, he spends his free time visiting at the senior center in his hometown and playing chess with the older gentlemen there. While his friends are seeking out and delving into the intricacies of life such as premarital relations – Joshua is trying with all his might to set “a good example” for his peers and help his father keep their “flock” on the straight and narrow path.
Joshua’s first love was Maddie Smith. When she was a child they were best friends – both of their fathers were preachers, so they had a lot in common. All Joshua can really remember was Maddie’s scent; she smelled like vanilla, and he never forgot about the girl who moved away. Five years later Maddie returns to the small town. She’s been sent back to live with her Aunt in order to “clean up her act.” Maddie has changed; the once carefree preacher’s daughter has had issues with boyfriends and school, and has let go of her faith because she simply doesn’t like how the “faithful” treat people. Now, don’t get me wrong, Maddie loves God and believes – but the tenets of organized religion break her heart. She is so sick of people preaching forgiveness and then, in the same sentence, condemning her for wearing purple lipstick, and a form-fitting dress. As far as she’s concerned, the righteous are the biggest hypocrites on the planet.
The whole story is the back and forth friendship between Joshua and Maddie. Her good points, such as a quest for life and happiness, do battle with Joshua’s inability to step outside his family’s circle and become his own man. Joshua can certainly memorize and repeat verbatim the ideas of others that’ve been written down over the years, but he has a very difficult time feeling any emotion or having an opinion of his own. Watching their interactions and seeing both sides of the story is what this book does best.
This story is fun for young adults, as well as something they can learn from. They will sit, read, and nod their heads – feeling the same sort of pressures that Joshua and Maddie feel. As a Christian, I am in total agreement with the young Maddie. I, too, believe in the higher power and beg for His forgiveness and help every day – but I’m no saint, and I think it is absolutely ridiculous to expect children who have questions about things to not talk, not ask, and go forward just accepting everyone else’s ideas and never having one of their own. As parents, we need to have the ability to talk to our children about issues that they stumble over. And, above all, we need to remember that those issues were things that we battled at one time, and the general atmosphere of the world is a lot worse today than it was then.
If parents and young adults read this together, not only will the tale bring everyone closer to a higher power, but it will also bring them closer to each other.