Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt, a review

Sometimes I stray from my core mission of reviewing middle grade novels. This novel is almost a middle-grade novel. After all, its narrator is twelve, perfect for middle grade. But the real protagonist is thirteen or fourteen, a boy who’s already lived enough grief–and joy–for a lifetime. So I guess it’s young adult. Gary D. […]

Freerunner by Kathy Cassel, a review

Kia struggles to find a place socially on the track team, leaning heavily on her boyfriend. It’s not easy. And then her abuser–her grandfather–shows up and actually moves in with Kia and her mother. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially for the little six-year-old girl that her grandfather is getting to know as a volunteer at a day care.

Merlin’s Nightmare by Robert Treskillard, a review

Robert Treskillard concludes his terrific YA Merlin trilogy with this book, Merlin’s Nightmare (2014), leaving some threads open for starting a new work focused on Arthur.  I’m really enjoying Treskillard’s re-imagining of Merlin as a non-magician. Merlin is a Christian who occasionally has visions. As the book opens, Merlin, in hiding in the North, has […]

Merlin’s Shadow by Robert Treskillard, a review

Multiple times, it looks like all is lost. How can they survive being stranded on a peninsula, with armed enemies cornering them? How can they survive being surrounded by Vortigern’s murderous men, and then by Pictish barbarians who are only too happy to murder them?

The Hate U Give movie, a review

In the movie “The Hate U Give,” 16-year-old Starr is an African-American living in what she calls “the ‘hood,” a place called Garden Heights, while attending a nearly all-white high school. She lives in both worlds, trying to fit in both places. When her childhood friend Kahlil volunteers to drive her home from a party […]

Reaching out through fiction

Carl Ellis Jr. tells Christians to speak into the culture, affirming core Biblical values without necessarily naming them as Biblical, in order to nudge the culture back toward Biblical norms and begin the process of preparing the soil for planting, so to speak. Tim Keller says that Christians who want to follow Biblical examples of […]

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, a review

Brielle is crippled by her despair as she blames herself for her best friend’s death. To learn to cope, she returns to the small town she calls home from the big city where she had attended a performing arts high school. Old friends reach out to her, but she rebuffs them. Then an amazing boy shows up and shakes her from her lethargy.

A persistent mentor makes all the difference

We have four children who are young adults, and I am glad to report that all of them are Christians. But I don’t take credit for it.

The Hunger Games, a review

Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old living in America some time in the future when it has devolved into a cruel empire, loves her little sister more than anything. So when that little sister is chosen for the Hunger Games, Katniss doesn’t hesitate. She takes the sister’s place. She finds herself fighting 23 other teens to the death in a high-tech arena, for viewing pleasure in the ultimate reality show. Only one person can win, and that winner gets plenty of income for life, unlike everyone else in the conquered territories–who is starving or nearly starving.

Replication by Jill Williamson, a review

Abby Goyer’s not too happy when her scientist father moves her to Alaska from Washington, D.C. He’s secretive about his new job, and that bothers her too, especially based on his history of working in a lab that was trying to clone human embryos for use in cancer research. She’s a Christian, and she wishes he would see the light.