CASCADE is an action-adventure story for girls. And it’s a very good one. I didn’t read the first book
in the series, WATERFALL, but I was able to dive in and enjoy the story.
CASCADE picks up immediately after the end of WATERFALL. Gabriella Betarrini and her sister Evangelia have
found an entrance to the space/time continuum and have just returned from 14th century Italy. They are eager to go back but
want to bring their archeologist mother with them. Reluctantly, Dr. Betarrini follows her daughters to see where this fantastical
sounding adventure started.
Gabriella (Gabi) is frantic to return to Siena and
her new love, Marcello. Evangelia (Lia) is still upset at how close the girls came to being tortured and killed and agrees
to return for only a short time. Their mother, still mourning their recently deceased father, gives in just to see if what
her daughters are claiming can be true. Did they really travel back to ancient Italy and fight for the Castello Forelli and
its inhabitants? Or has their grief led them to hallucinations?
Once back in 1332 A.D. Siena, the girls and their mother are swept up in the battle between Siena and Firenze.
Gabi and Lia’s father taught them how to use medieval weapons. Gabi is an excellent swordswoman and Lia’s arrows
fly true from her bow. Their prowess and ability to speak Italian and English make them targets from Siena’s enemies.
CASCADE moves quickly from adventure story to love story then on to a war
story. As the sisters help their new friends and loves, they dare to wonder if they can control their time tunnel and perhaps
return to an earlier time than when they left. Could they save their father from the accident that killed him?
Young adults, male and female, who love adventure stories will enjoy CASCADE.
Even older adults will find it easy to lose themselves in 14th century Italy.
Faith element: Low
HOW HUGE THE NIGHT
By Heather Munn and Lydia Munn
Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
army is marching across Europe, leaving destruction in it's path. Teen, Julian Losier's family heads to France where Julian
feels like an outcast since they came from Germany. Just because he left Germany, doesn't mean he shares in their beliefs.
From day one he struggles to come to terms with God's purpose in the war and what Julian can do to help. When two Jewish teen
refugees end up on his doorstep, Julian is faced with a difficult decision that can affect his life and that of his family's.
HOW HUGE THE NIGHT brings the horror of World War II to the forefront of the
readers mind, yet shows God's mercy in the telling. When a choice is made, even one person can make a difference.
High on the faith scale
LIFE IN SPITE OF ME
Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice
By Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Kristen’s life was spinning out of control. Nothing she tried eased the pain inside of both her own choices
and hurts she was afraid to tell anyone. She didn’t start out to actually try to take her own life, but when there seemed
no hope and no way out, she laid down on the railroad tracks and waited to die. But God had other plans.
Kirsten found herself alive, her legs ten feet away. So begins a story of
struggle, challenge, hope and God’s amazing grace.
The story is told with all those inner voices that lead us to hate ourselves and seek destruction. The struggle isn’t
sugar-coated, making the story real and powerful. Kristen adds her personal notes of encouragement. The book ends with triumph
midst struggles, as well as practical helps for those who are hurting.
A book every parent should read, every teen should have available and every counselor read and hand
out when needed.
Faith element high
2 Books in 1
By Niceole O'Dell
Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
schooler Molly Jacobs gets what she thinks is her dream job. A job at the upscale clothing store Magna. All her friends and
the popular crowd shop there. Everyone is envious of the discounts Molly receives. Then Molly is asked to do something unethical.
Something that will cost her her job or her friends and Molly is faced with a difficult choice.
Kate Walker decides to step out of her comfort zone and join her high school's swim team. She becomes
obsessed with practice to the point of letting everything else go. Her health and home life are failing. She's lost her best
friend. Why would God allow all this to happen just after things were going her way? When fatigue attacks her body, she turns
to caffeine...at first. Then is presented with a more difficult choice. Will Kate risk all she's worked for?
RISKY BUSINESS deals with issues girls in today's world face. What seems like
innocent choices at first can spiral out of control, risking everything that is important. In these two stories, the girls
must decide, along with the reader, which path to take. The right one or the easy one.
High on the faith scale.
2 Books in 1
By Nicole O'Dell
Review by Cynthia Hickey
the worst way, Amber wants to win the car being given away by a local business. She has to make straight A and maintain perfect
attendance. She can do this! It becomes Amber's obsession to the point she cheats on her exam. When her best friend is accused
of cheating, and Amber appears to have gotten away scot free, will she step forward and tell the truth or accept her winnings
under false pretenses?
Unhappy Lily hates it at home. Why can't she have
a "normal" life like other kids. She invents ways to be away from home, going so far as to lie about activities at church
so she can hang out with her boyfriend, Jason. Then Jason's parents are going to be gone for a weekend and Lily recieves
an invitation that will require another lie and a sacrifice of morals. Will she stick to what's right, or go along with Jason?
SWEPT AWAY is a tale of two young women faced with difficult life choices.
Choices that affect every young adult today. In this two-in-one book, the reader has the opportunity to make the choice along
with the characters, changing the path of the story. With God's grace shining through the pages, this book is a positive,
encouraging read for young women.
High on the faith scale
DEPARTURES Two stories in one: Christy Miller & Sierra Jensen By
Robin Jones Gunn ISBN 978-1-60142-346-7 Multnomah Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Christy is now a high school graduate. Her long-time boyfriend has gone
to the mission field and Christy isn't sure about the direction her life or dating should take. On a trip with her parents
to her old hometown, she reconnects with Matthew, whom she liked before she moved years earlier. But will visiting old stamping
grounds rekindle those feelings or does Christy discover she isn't the same person as she once was?
Sierra Jensen has been invited to go with her friend Jana on Jana's family
vacation to a lake in Montana. Together with Jana's brothers and a friend of her brothers, the five travel to Montana. Only
the predicable, calm friend Sierra has always known seems to be changing, and not for the better. Jana is starting to be all
about boys and is trying out her skills. Sierra doesn't understand her friend nor her own response. Just where does dating
fit in with growing up?
Two stories of growing up, discovery and faith. Fans of Christy and Sierra
will love this chance to read these novellas, maybe for the first time.
Faith element: high
A Journey to the Edge of Life
By Randy Alcorn
Reviewer Clint Walker
Randy Alcorn has written extensively about the
reality of Heaven. In THE CHASM he focuses on developing an allegory that tells about the journey to get to Heaven. The result
is a simple fantasy story that clearly communicates the message of salvation.
THE CHASM is an allegory
of a journey toward Heaven, which is described as “Charis, the City of Light”. The story mixes elements of a Pilgrim’s
Progress’ ascent toward heaven with a supernatural fantasy thriller full of powerful beasts and beings. As the main
character makes his way along the journey, he has to learn whom to listen to, and how to overcome a massive chasm between
himself and Charis.
Complete with illustrations,
as the story goes along, this book would be great introduction to the Christian faith for adolescent boys or for people who
enjoy video games and fantasy novels.
Faith Element: High
WATERFALL The River of Time Series By Lisa T Bergren ISBN 978-1-4347-6433-1 David
C Cook Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
Gabi Bentarrini doesn't want to spend another summer at an Italian archeological
dig. Neither does her sister Lia, but here they are. Following their mother; trying to share in her excitement. For a bit
of fun, the sisters duck into a tomb and place their hands on two painted handprints. Gabi wakes up in the middle of a Middle-Age
battle, her sister no where in sight. Gabi is taken to a nearby castle and treated like a guest, at least by outward appearances,
but all she wants is to find her sister. She becomes a pawn in a years-old war. Turn spy, and she'll see her sister again.
Gabi agrees. What she didn't count on was falling in love with the prince. Can she leave him behind and return to her own
WATERFALL is an adventure-filled romance geared toward young adults. With page-turning action, it's a book
that is hard to put down, even after the last page is read. While God does not play a big part in Gabi's story, He is there,
fitting for the time period. A wonderful book.
Low on the faith scale.
NEVER BEEN KISSED by Melody Carlson ISBN 978-0-8007-3259-2 Revell
Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
Elise had to move and leave her friends and High School behind. Now, she's living
in a rundown apartment with just her and her mom. She meets a girl a few years younger who thinks Elise is one of the "popular"
crowd. So, Elise tells a little white lie. Then, a new school year starts and Elise meets a cute boy who introduces her to
the "in" crowd. Things are looking up. Until someone pulls a prank and Elise is arrested, and no one believes her innocence.
How can this be happening to her?
NEVER BEEN KISSED is a young adult novel that deals with current events surrounding
today's youth. Internet porn and sexting--something so many kids dabble in and parents fret over. Melody Carlson has crafted
a novel entertaining to teenagers, yet one that with a life lesson.
Medium on the faith scale.
DANGER CALLING True Adventures of Risk and Faith Youth Edition By
Peb Jackson and James Lund ISBN 978-0-8007-3405-3 Revell Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
From one end of the
earth to the other and to the depths of the sea, DANGER CALLING contains sixteen true life stories that keep you on the edge
of your seat and challenge your thinking and your faith. Containing questions to challenge you, this book is an adventure
in reading. What is your source of strength in a crisis? Could you lead others into battle knowing some of them will die?
are a few of the issues presented within these pages. In Bible study form, each chapter contains questions encouraging the
reader to dig deep and answer questions from the heart, from the gut, from deep within your faith. Although written in the
same format as the adult edition, this book contains different stories to challenge our youth. Be prepared for a wild ride!
on the faith scale.
TANDEM By Tracey Bateman ISBN 978-0-307-45717-2 WaterBrook
Press Reviewer Casey Pitts
Lauryn McBride stumbles upon mystery while organizing an auction from
an estate sale in her small town of Abbey Hills, Missouri. Even more curious, an equally mysterious woman from Louisiana pays
a visit to recover items from the estate. A series of unusual animal slayings and the discovery of a local woman’s lifeless
body spark rumors in the community. Are vampires at work in Abbey Hills?
In comparison to secular vampire books, TANDEM focuses on families and
redemption rather than glamorizing an already intriguing subject. The suspense of the story is well maintained without graphic
details of killing or teenage infatuation. Family are a primary theme as siblings, extended family and parent/child relationships
are strained through illness, separation and death. I found the variety of issues to be realistic and good for discussion
God’s love and redemption are mentioned casually throughout the
book. The presentation is thought provoking, especially when one character tries to decide if her mother is a “good”
voodoo priestess or if the possibility even exists. The reader is challenged to identify good and evil from several vantage
points. I am looking forward to Bateman’s future endeavors as she reaches young adults with culturally relevant stories.
Faith Element: mild
THE HEALER'S APPRENTICE By Melanie Dickerson ISBN 978-0-310-72143-7 Zondervan Reviewer Casey Pitts
Rose serves as apprentice to the castle healer despite her queasiness at the sight of blood. To make matters worse, the
Duke’s heir, Wilhelm, has been injured and Rose must tend to his wounds. She is drawn to him, but wonders if a man like
him would even notice her. Chance encounters (and a few intentional ones), bring the two hearts together. What could keep
them apart? Only Wilhelm’s betrothal to a mysterious woman and his promise to protect her from an evil man intent on
murdering her. Could Wilhelm marry Rose instead?
I am rather partial to stories of medieval castles, the plight of a poor girl, and a prince who falls in love. This is
a classic tale with a few twists. Though the book is marketed to young adults, this “more mature reader” enjoyed
the flow of thought and beautiful story. THE HEALER'S APPRENTICE combines young romance and adventure with a bit of mystery.
I will gladly share this with my teenage daughters.
Faith Element: moderate
ALWAYS: A Teen Devotional Words From the Rock By Melody Carlson ISBN
978-0-8007-3256-1 Revell Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
As a teen, do you live your Sunday life the rest of week,
or do you leave God at the church door, only to reconnect the next Sunday? Do you take the pastor's words to heart, or do
you sit and dwell on the rest of your life?
The life of today's teen is filled with highs and lows in many areas.
Often too much is happening to enable our young people to feel confident in handling what life throws our way. ALWAYS contains
90 short devotions geared toward the issues today's teens face; school, family, relationship, and God.
in language youth can understand, ALWAYS is a must for teens. Just in time to stuff a stocking with one of the greatest gifts
we can give our children. A closer relationship with God.
High on the faith scale.
PREPARING YOUR DAUGHTER FOR EVERY WOMAN'S BATTLE Creative Conversation
About Sexual and Emotional Integrity By Shannon Ethridge ISBN 978-0-307-45858-2 WaterBrook Press Reviewer Casey
Is it possible to keep young girls from compromising their purity for
the attention of boys? Our world challenges girls with pressure to be beautiful, popular and seductive. This book offers steps
to teach parents and teens about being the princess that God wants them to be.
Ethridge presents biblical perspective in two areas. The first part of
the book is a series of chapters presenting to parents issues faced by teenage girls, such as how they understand love and
how a parent can guide a daughter’s modesty? The stories and data are helpful in understanding the pressures teenage
daughters feel. The chapter about fathers and daughters outlined good suggestions for dads who might be intimidated by the
fact their “little girl” is growing up.
The second part of the book is designed as a journey for parents and
daughters to share. Each chapter offers reading, discussion and activities to emphasize sexual and emotional integrity. Be
prepared for explicit diagrams and candid discussions about topics ranging from reproductive anatomy and choosing a wardrobe
to discerning movie ratings. I found the content to be tastefully presented. However, some sections may be uncomfortable for
families with younger children.
Faith Element: High
A GIRL NAMED MISTER By Nikki Grimes ISBN 978-0-310-72078-2 Zondervan
Reviewer Carrie Padgett
A GIRL NAMED MISTER is the story of Mary Rudine, known as Mister to her
friends and family. Mister is a Christ-believing, church-attending, purity-committing high school girl. Then she meets Trey,
a smooth-talking, fast-hands-and-lips, long-lashed high school boy.
Mister finds a book of poetry about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and is
drawn to the heart and feelings of a teen mother in a different time. When Mister slips, she finds she has even more in common
Told in poetry, A GIRL NAMED MISTER is a moving story of mistakes, consequences,
and forgiveness. The poems are short but eloquent and the element of poetry makes a poignant situation even more so.
A GIRL NAMED MISTER should be read by every teen who’s ever said,
“It will never happen to me.”
Faith element: High.
TOURNAMENTS, COCOA AND ONE WRONG MOVE [Real Life] By Nancy Rue ISBN
978-0-310-71486-6 Zondervan Review by Cynthia Hickey
Cassidy is the top girl's basketball star of her
high school. There are only seconds left in the game and it's up to Cassidy to pull them ahead. She jumps, she scores, and
falls, tearing her ACL and possibly hurting her chances for a college scholarship. Her father blames her, her mother finally
notices her, and Cassidy's life falls into the toilet when she accepts something from someone she trusts. Now, Cassidy is
one of the "losers."
As she strives to right a wrong, her life takes an unexpected, and surprising,
turn. All that she'd once thought so important now takes second place. And what is this book she found that shares Bible stories
in modern language, even going as far as knowing the thoughts in Cassidy's head?
TOURNAMENTS, COCOA, & ONE
WRONG MOVE is a wonderfully, modern, accurate portrayal of what the young people of today are dealing with. Peer pressure,
rejection, loneliness, that all-encompassing feeling of wanting to belong, with enough romance sprinkled in to satisfy any
reader. A thoroughly enjoyable book for readers of all ages.
High on the faith scale.
INFINITE PLAYLISTS How to Have Conversations [Not Conflict] with Your
Kids About Music By Todd Stocker ISBN 978-0-8254-3656-7 Kregel Publications Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Black and white. Demanding our children stop listening to certain music
seldom works. When it does, often it causes resentment in both children and parents. Stocker takes a much more common sense
approach in INFINITE PLAYLISTS. Getting our kids to listen starts with a good, Godly example. We parents need to provide a
solid foundation of faith and principles, that we also adhere to, as we value where our children are and interaction with
them. With the way things change, sometimes music choice is something parents and children learn together.
Stocker constantly interacts with his son about lyrics and music. He
points out that parents need to teach children and themselves to look at lyrics, the mood music draws one into as well as
context. Check the musician(s). What is their lifestyle? If the song dishonors God, women or others, if it promotes a degrading
or immoral lifestyle, if it is filled with words/phrases not accepted in your home, if it is filled with an explicit or even
subtle sexual message, the song is off that playlist. Explain why such music is harmful and allow your child to examine your
music as well. You may find you need to remove something as well. Teach by example and, no matter, what love your child.
There is so much more in this small book. I highly recommend it to parents,
teens and youth leaders.
Faith element: high
EVERY YOUNG MAN GOD'S MAN Confident, Courageous, and Completely His
By Stephen Arterburn and Kenny Luck with Mike Yorkey ISBN 978-0-307-45943-5 WaterBrook Press Reviewer Carolyn
I've watched young women become beautiful women of God. I and other mothers
watch our young women search for Godly young men—and don't find very many. To many of today's young men compromise with
a world determined to destroy their integrity as men, as Godly, faithful men and as men determined to remain sexually pure
in thought, word and deed.
Too many, even Christians, in today's culture claim to believe one thing,
but their actions scream something else and that scream is compromise or complete capitulation to evil that will consume and
This book pulls no punches. It lays out truth not just with a dry recital
of scripture, but through real life experiences and practical application. While sexual purity is covered, this book deals
with the totality of what it means to walk with God wholeheartedly and the rewards of doing so.
The book includes a workbook for use in Bible Study groups.
This is an absolute must for every young man. Rush to buy this book for
that young man in your life. Wouldn't hurt older men to read it as well.
Faith element: very high. Highly recommended.
PERFECTLY DATELESS By Kristin Billerbeck ISBN 978-0-8007-3439-8 Revell
Review by Cynthia Hickey
Daisy Crispin, tall, gangly, and dressing like a restaurant hostess, has parents
who are so out of tune with the world, she's at her wit's end. Regardless, Daisy is determined to find a date for the senior
prom, even though she's "invisible" at her Christian high school. Her parents drum into her head that it's what is on the
inside that matters to God.
A perfectionist, she breaks out of her rut and buys a frilly, pink, prom
journal and records her plan to land a date. As she breaks out of her parents' strict confines, Daisy bites off more than
she can chew, and questions whether popularity is all it's cracked up to be. Not only are her eyes opened to what really matters
in the long run, but so are her parents as they finally meet in the middle.
PERFECTLY DATELESS is a fun, up-to-date
novel for young adults that deals with issues our young people face today. Kristin Billerbeck writes about difficult
topics with humor and eye-opening realism.
Too often we discourage the dreams of the young, because they are young.
Most don't know history well enough to know many of the figures of history started young—like Daniel and Alexander the
Great. This books shares the stories of entrepreneurs who started before they understood the word.
Their success boils down to family support and encouragement, hard work,
passion and a desire to not only succeed, but also to help others. WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE MORE MONEY THAN YOUR PARENTS should
be in every school and every home with kids.
Note: there is a couple of incidences of mild language. This is not a
“Christian” book, but a book to help you dream big dreams and go for them—kids on up. If the kids can do
it, why can't we?
Faith element: N/A
SO OVER IT The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt By Stephanie Morrill ISBN
978-0-8007-3391-9 Revell Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Skylar does not want to deal with what happened to her. It is too painful.
Instead she runs to Hawaii intending to stay with her grandparents once her family returns home. Only she discovers her problems
follow her and the only way to ever have the courage to rebuild the mess she's made of her life and to deal with what happened
is to face things head on.
Only that isn't so easy when it means learning to let go, learning to
share what happened to her and learning to forgive—starting with herself. Has her newfound faith made her strong enough
to hold her when nothing goes as planned?
Between high school and college a lot of life can happen. Life choices
are so important, but even bad choices can be redeemed when met with honesty and courage. Skylar is if anything, all too real
as she begins to realize not only who she is, but who she wants to be and how God's forgiveness fits into the very fabric
of her life choices.
A story of forgiveness and hope.
Faith element: low
KATY'S DEBATE Katy Lambright Series By Kim Vogel Sawyer ISBN
978-0-310-71923-6 Zondervan Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Katy loved going to the English school and loved being part of the debate
team. What she didn't like was her Old Order father courting a woman just to give her a mother. Katy wasn't ready to share
her father with anyone. They had little enough time together as it was with school and chores and extended family.
When Katy hatches a plot to get rid of the woman in her father's life,
she never realizes how it will change her—and not for the better. Will Katy be able to see beyond her own needs before
she destroys not only her father's courtship, but also her own heart?
Katy is different from her classmates in her mannerisms, her dress and
her background, but her problem with a potential new parent isn't specific to her Mennonite community. Step-parents are a
reality for a growing number of children. As Katy learns, getting rid of her potential parent doesn't solve a problem that
can only be solved by letting go and reaching out to recognize the needs of others. Katy learns not only about jealousy, but
also about grace.
ONLINE WITH GOD By Laurie Lazzaro ISBN 97800-0-310-71615-0 Zondervan Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
Teens aren't always so good at communicating with parents or parents
with their teens. It would be nice to be able to get our girls to read a book that covers all those subjects we try to talk
to them about. Even better, how about a book that pulls together scripture, a short real-to-life story, insight and prayer?
Even better yet, how about a book that isn't your mother's devotional, but one that deals with the issues teens face today—such
as online bashing, computer/texting addictions-- as well as the issues young people have faced for generations—losing
a friend, crushes, school?
ONLINE WITH GOD is such a book. If you're a parent, this book will say
what you want to say, but in a way your teen can relate. It could be used to foster questions and family discussions. ONLINE
WITH GOD would also be a good reference for a girl's study group.
Faith element: high
Notes: I did have two problems with this book. It does assumed an intact
home and Christian parents who care about their kids and who have some knowledge of the Internet. These are big assumptions
in this day of splintered and sometimes abusive homes. As for Internet, want to know how to use it—ask the kid, not
My second problem had to do with the devotions on hate crimes and intolerance.
Yes, we need to be kind to everyone, regardless of race, appearance, health or status. However, “hate crimes”
as used in today's society has a very different meaning. The whole concept is derived from an attempt to silence Christians
and the Gospel message as being intolerant and, in places where hate crimes legislation has been implemented, the conviction
of Christians for hate crimes simply for sharing Biblical truth has greatly increased. We need to be careful that we truly
understand the intent of some ideas and legislation, which often is quite opposed to what we understand by the terms.
That said, ONLINE WITH GOD really hits home on so many issues and can
be a valuable tool in the growth of our girls.
HIS PRINCESS: Girl Talk with God Love Letters & Devotions for
Young Women By Sherri Rose Shepherd ISBN 978-0-8007-152-4 Revell Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
This is a beautifully done book in red and white. White pages have a
flower background with red text and the red pages have white text. The book is small enough to fit into most handbags. Small
enough to fit under a pillow.
Each chapter contains three sections. The author writes about a topic
of interest to teens such as peer pressure, fear, failure, body image, sex, etc. The topic is followed by a letter from God
to the teen, followed by an applicable verse. The whole makes up a book that could revolutionize perspective and choices.
Shepherd really has a handle on what teens go through and how they feel
about it. Using her own experiences and Godly principles, Shepherd writes with sensitivity and reality. A book every teenage
girl should be presented as a gift.
MOTORCYCLES, SUSHI AND ONE STRANGE BOOK By Nancy Rue ISBN 978-0-310-71484-2 Zondervan Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
Jessica hated the term ADHD. She wasn't too thrilled with a mom who had
bouts of manic activity interspersed with bouts where she couldn't get out of bed and Jessica had to handle everything. Her
mother's denigrating words tear her to pieces and her lies to her friends are spiraling out of control. When the father she
thought dead shows up very much alive, when her mother is taken away for the medical help she so disparately needs, Jessica
finds herself in the temporary guardianship of her father.
She knew how long that would last. Like everyone else, he'd let her down,
put her down and send her back. Only her father turns out to be very different from what Jessica expects. None of her tactics
work on him. Even stranger, is the book she finds that seems to read her heart as it tells her about the man Yeshua. If only
he were real...or is he?
Jessica must come to terms with not only who Jesus is, but who she wants
to be—ADHD and all. And what happens when everything spirals out of control again? Will Jessica have the courage to
stand up for a future of hope?
A story of faith and wholeness.
What is interesting about this series is how the author tells the story,
not from the outside, but from the inside. It takes knowledge, research and sensitivity to be able to tell these stories.
Faith element: high
BOYFRIENDS. BURRITOS AND AN OCEAN OF TROUBLE By Nancy Rue ISBN
978-0-310-71485-9 Zondervan Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Bryn didn't want anyone to know, but the car accident revealed the truth.
The bruises she'd sustained hadn't all come from the accident. As the truth spills out about her abusive boyfriend, Bryn begins
a journey she never imagined. How could she know not everyone would believe the story told on her body, that her boyfriend
and his friends would proclaim his innocence, and that she and her family would be threatened if she continued to tell the
Then there is her grandmother, forcing her to learn how to surf and the
young man at the Surf shop she believes is just feeling sorry for her. Most frustrating is the book that draws her and seems
to know her heart. Will Bryn find the courage to stand up for herself, for truth and find one of the most precious of gifts—herself?
A novel about finding faith with all-too-real characters and a subject
that needs to be addressed. This book also comes with a twist of something extra in a mystical book.
I was bothered that the plan of salvation was not clear. I was also bothered
that when Bryn is once more threatened at the end of the book, she shrugs it off. Huh? Didn't she learn anything about the
seriousness of not reporting threats?
Nevertheless, BOYFRIENDS. BURRITOS AND AN OCEAN OF TROUBLE hits to the
heart of a growing problem of abuse in dating relationships. A book every teenage girl should read.
Faith element: medium
PREMIER ON THE RUNWAY #1 By Melody Carlson ISBN 978-0-310-71786-7 Zondervan Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
When Paige gets a chance to do a spot on TV, her sister Erin does some
behind the scenes shots. Erin doesn't care for the spotlight. When Paige's fashion comments turn into an offer for a reality
show, Erin, reluctantly, ends up as part of the package.
But when Paige begins to use some very bad judgment regarding a star
of another reality show, Erin must use courage and tact to extricate her sister so Paige doesn't lose the opportunity of a
lifetime. Will Paige's difficulties provide Erin a chance to share her faith?
What about Erin's own heartache? Is she walking right back into the problem
High fashion, Hollywood, reality shows, a hint of romance and two very
different sisters with an chance most only dream about, add in a cohesive story with likable main characters and you have
a novel that is not only a positive read, but also one that would make a great TV show/movie all on its own.
Faith element: low to medium
CATWALK ON THE RUNWAY #2 By Melody Carlson ISBN 978-0-310-71787-4 Zondervan Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
Paige can't wait for Fashion Week in New York. Her sister Erin is less
sure. She's not into all the glitz and glamor. But they'd been signed up as a team for the reality fashion show On The Runway
with Paige doing commentary and Erin as her companion and camera girl, taking it all in. But things change,
Erin finds herself advocating for a designer of green fashions, finds
herself giving Blake a second chance, is hurt that her friend Mollie is cutting her off and concerned that Paige's celebrity
status is going to her head. Further, Erin begins to enjoy looking good. Somehow, through it all Erin must keep grounded for
her sister certainly isn't and a main reason she's part of the ticket is to keep her sister in line. That's not easy.
What both Erin and Paige come to realize is that for all the perks of
celebrity life-style, there is a dark side. Will Paige survive this round with those who think nothing of destroying others?
Will Erin's faith survive Fashion Week?
Celebrity. Pressure. Drama. Will the girls use their platform to help
or hurt others?
Faith element: low to medium. Faith is present, but not the actual message
FINAL TOUCH Rayne Tour #3 By Brandilyn Collins & Amberly Collins ISBN
978-0-310-71933-5 Zondervan Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Shaley was as happy as she'd ever been. Her mother, rock star Rayne,
and long-lost father were getting married and she gets to be maid of honor. All she has to do is get the ring meant for her
dad that needed a last minute adjustment. What she didn't figure on was bring kidnapped and taken on a journey that tests
her faith, the faith of her distraught parents, and her will to survive.
Why does this man want her and how can he expect Shaley to want to be
with him? The bigger question: how can God allow such evil things to happen?
In this third of the Rayne Tour series for teens, Shaley must discover
her own inner resources and strength as she listens to God's still small voice within.
A fast-paced story that rings true, leaving the reader knowing God's
perfect timing and amazing grace.
Faith element: high
STARLIGHTER Dragons of Starlight By Bryon Davis ISBN 0-310-71836-9 Zondervan Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
Dragons have enslaved humans on another world, or so the legend goes.
Only leadership discouraged their citizens from pursuing information and got rid of those who believed. But Jason has a stake
in the legend. His brothers believed. He must discover the truth for himself, for, if they were right, he must find and bring
them home. But can he do it alone?
Far away, Koren can spin a tale that mesmerizes the hearer. Is she more
than a talebearer? Could she have powers that might help set her enslaved people free? And what about the stories about a
far away world?
Jason and Koren seek the truth. In doing so, they unleash forces and
evil they are not prepared to handle—or are they?
This fast-paced adventure draws in the reader from the beginning, making
both the setting and the characters come alive. As this is the first of the series, an immediate story is wrapped up, while
threads of a larger story remain for the next book. Would make a wonderful movie.
A story of danger, betrayal and dragons. A story of sacrifice, courage...and
Faith element: low
MAGNA Scenarios #3 Interactive Fiction for Girls By Nicole Dell ISBN
97 -1-60260-844-3 Barbour Publishing Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Fifteen-year-old Molly and her friends Sara and Jess decide they need
money for clothes and other expenses. But when they apply at their favorite clothing and accessory store, only Molly is hired.
While she excited by her new job and her new responsibilities, she is not so easy about the pressure older teens put on her
to get them “free” deals. She's also did not expect to be put into the position her close friends lay out for
Molly claims to be a Christian and wants her friends to know Jesus as
well, but will Molly's choices lead them to or away from Christ? This is a choose you own ending book, which makes it not
only an interesting read with an equally interesting mix of characters, but also one that challenges as well.
Faith element: medium to high
MAKING WAVES Scenarios #4 Interactive Fiction for Girls By Nicole
Dell ISBN 97 -1-60260-845-0 Barbour Publishing Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
With her older sister married, her best friend and her father dead,
it was just Kate and and her mother. It was also time to move on with her life, especially since her best friend's father
had moved the family to his new job location.
Kate loved to swim, why not take it to the next level and try out for
the team? Her abilities landed her a position on the varsity team where the older team members welcomed what she brought to
the team. But when keeping up with school and church and the swim team gets too much and a few of her teammates offer something
to get her through practices, Kate must choose her future—one of saying “no” or one of drugs.
In this choose your own ending story, MAKING WAVES gives the reader both
ending possibilities. What will Kathy choose? What would you?
MAKING WAVES is a solid story with interesting teens that shows the consequences
of choices—good or bad. This book is not only a good read for teens, but would also make a foundation for a discussion
in a Sunday School Class, Youth Group or between parents and teens.
Faith element: medium Recommended.
FATHER FICTION: Chapters For A Fatherless Generation By Donald Miller ISBN
978-1-4391-6916-2 Howard Books Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
We live in a culture where fathers are often not valued in a family setting.
Too many fathers have walked away, never been there for their families, or are so caught up in work and other pursuits they
seldom interact in a meaningful way.
Donald Miller, author of BLUE LIKE JAZZ, has written about his experience
with an absentee father and the scars it left on his life and his soul. Lacking affirmation as a man, he grew bitter and hurt
and angry. In telling his story, Miller shares his heart and hurt with so many other young men. He also shares what makes
a man and how to overcome the lack of a positive male role model father.
I was not happy with his use of “sh...” in the Introduction.
I see no need for such language in a book meant to share faith. The book also uses the anatomical term for the male part several
times, not in a graphic way, but to get his point across. It is startling and unexpected, but should not keep someone from
reading this book.
This book has unexpected depth and is a real need for the many men questioning
if they are men, wondering if being a “real” man is some sort of club, and curious how to become a man worthy
of love and acceptance.
Faith element: medium to high. Recommended.
WHITE AS SNOW Mysterious Ways By Donna Westover Gallup ISBN
978-0-9759619-4-0 Cladach Publishing Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Charlie's grandfather, the only living relative he has left, has fallen
ill and seems to be dying. At ten years of age, Charlie realizes he is all that is keeping himself and his grandfather alive
on the Colorado frontier. But the firewood has been depleted along with their food stores and Winter is coming on.
After losing his parents, his grandmother and, now, with his grandfather
not responding, Charlie is convinced God isn't listening any more. He's on his own and has every intention, as scared as he
is, of providing for them both. But when everything goes wrong, including a grizzly attack, Charlie is left with the truth—He
really is alone. After what he's done, will even God help him now?
And who is the stranger who arrives at their door? Can he be trusted?
Are Charlie's secrets about to revealed and will the stranger prove to be friend or foe?
A story of hope and
grace with an unexpected twist that the whole family can enjoy.
Faith element: high
ROCK OF REFUGE Mysterious Ways #2 By Donna Westover Gallup ISBN
978-0-9759619-7-1 Cladach Publishing Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Charlie is older and the small farm seems to be closing in on him. He
wants to experience the wider world. Understanding, his grandfather arranges for him to go on a cattle drive. When a lawyer
asks Grandfather to come to Denver to deal with his recently deceased cousin's estate, Grandfather travels on the trail with
Charlie until they arrive in Denver. What they discover in Denver will change their lives forever.
A story of family, friendship and a faith that is tested, tried as Charlie
discovers that God's plan isn't always ours and that we can trust him for today and tomorrow.
Suitable for the whole family to share together.
Faith element: high
IN GREEN PASTURES Mysterious Ways #3 By Donna Westover Gallup ISBN
978-0-9818929-1-7 Cladach Publishing Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Charlie has lost his grandfather and his financial circumstances have
changed considerably. But that doesn't make his life easier. In fact, he discovers, more complications with friends and with
family he didn't even know he had.
When he travels to Missouri to check out property he's inherited, he
finds a situation that is at odds with all he's grown up to believe. What is the truth of his past? Will he discover the answers
before more are hurt and before he loses his own life to those who do not want the truth to come to light?
A story of secrets, betrayal, friendship and redemption. A continuation
of Charlie's story that builds on the first two books. While the plot of this book stands on its own, knowing the story from
the first two books gives depth to the story. I like that each book completes the principal story while leaving a thread for
the next in the series.
I look forward to the next book in the series.
Note: I really like the size of this series. The books are larger than
a mass media book, but smaller and easier to handle than a traditional trade paper size. Very comfortable.
Faith element: high
OUT WITH THE IN CROWD The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt #2 By Stephanie
Morrill ISBN 978-0-8007-3390-2 Revell Books Reviewer Elisabeth H. Bantz
Book Two of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series finds Skylar with a
very pregnant younger sister, parents on the verge of something explosive, and a new boyfriend vying for more of her time
than she can spare. Something’s got to give.
What gives is her little sister refusing to face reality. Her parents
refusing to work through their mistakes. Her boyfriend refusing to see that Jodi is trying to break them up. Nothing she does
seems to help.
And where does her new faith in Christ fit in? Will she fail Him too?
OUT WITH THE IN CROWD is an exciting read, very well written, with real
life dilemmas. And real Life answers.
Faith element, low but clear.
ANYTHING BUT NORMAL By Melody Carlson ISBN 978-0-8007-3258-5 Revell
Books Reviewer Elisabeth H. Bantz
I loved this story, and I would give it to my teen grandchildren. Melody
Carlson brings the characters to life.
Sophie Ramsay has been looking forward to her senior year at school;
she is a shoo-in for being named editor of the school newspaper. Journalism is in her blood. She hopes to major in it in College.
There is only one small problem, but she hides it behind her quick wit . . . and baggy clothes.
Sophie sails through classes, chats with friends, and writes biting editorials
about teen pregnancies, while inside her problem is growing. And every new situation seems to push her to a place she never
wanted to be.
Excruciatingly real, yet lovingly written, any teen will benefit from
this one girl’s story. Faith element is low to medium.
LIFE A Teen Devotional By Melody Carlson ISBN 978-0-8007-3255-4 Revell
Reviewed by Cynthia Hickey
Where was this book when I was a teenager? With great insight into God's word,
LIFE takes youth on a journey with Jesus walking beside them. Using practical daily application, Melody Carlson addresses
many of the issues facing today's youth.
Scripture and prayer take the reader step-by-step into a closer relationship
with God, answering questions that plague today's young people. From the age of twelve to twenty-five, this book is the perfect
stocking stuffer, daily morning ritual, or read on a cold, blustery day.
What happens during the End Times? What
do we need to do to get into Heaven? Are works enough? Am I valuable? These are just a few of the questions answered within
the pages of LIFE.
THE CHIC SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH An All About Us Novel #6 By Shelley
Adina ISBN 978-0-446-17964-5 FaithWords Reviewed by Elisabeth H. Bantz
Lissa Mansfield is back and in her last term of high school at Spencer
Academy. Her brilliant roommate Gillian has Universities vying for her, and her friends seem to know exactly what they want
to do, but she hasn’t found her niche in life. Yet. But God has a plan to show her the gift he has given her.
It begins with her nemesis, Vanessa, the most popular girl in the class,
that catty and snobbish girl who had caused so much pain last year. Vanessa has a secret. One that topples her from her invisible
throne and makes her the object of ridicule.
Instead of joining the taunters and whisperers, Lissa empathizes with
her. It is the beginning of a new chapter in her life, one fraught with bumps and bruises on the way to the grand Cotillion.
At first, I found it difficult to identify the different characters,
and there are many. And I had the disadvantage of coming in on the tail end of the story written in previous books. But soon
I could identify each of their quirks and follow the plot. Young people will enjoy this glimpse of boarding school intrigue.
Faith element: low to medium.
FIERCE STYLE How to be your most fabulous self By Christian Siriano
with Rennie Dyball ISBN 978-0-446-54601-0 Grand Central Publishing Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
This book didn't quite “fit” the guidelines for ACR due to
some common language profanities. OM---, etc. They are not pervasive and this book has many other good qualities about looking
and feeling self-confident.
IGNITE YOUR FAITH 365 Devotions to set your faith on fire ISBN
978-0-8007-3388-9 Revell Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Being a teenager is confusing, frustrating, and exciting, sometimes all
at once. It is a time to re-examine everything you've been taught at home, at school and at church. Who are you going to become?
Will you accept what has been? What does Christ have to offer?
IGNITE YOUR FAITH takes the teen on a devotional journey that digs deep
into where life really happens. With real life experiences from real life teens, from youth leaders, and even examples from
movies, along with Scripture, IGNITE YOUR FAITH guides the teen through the storms of life. The book is real, doesn't pull
punches and isn't afraid to deal with sensitive issues. The book is filled with ways to make the devotionals come alive. Very
interactive. Helps teens think through actions and beliefs.
An excellent resource for teens and for those who live with and/or work
My only note of warning: some movies used as examples may be those not
all parents or adult leaders will approve. They probably will be movies teens have already seen.
Faith element: high
TOUCHED BY A VAMPIRE Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight
Saga By Beth Felker Jones ISBN 978-1-60142-278-1 Multnomah Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
The Twilight book and movie series are sucking in young people, who live
and breathe the characters within this series. Many see this as positive because the main characters sacrifice for one another,
save sex for marriage, and the value of family.
However, the author of TOUCHED BY A VAMPIRE points out some major problems
with the way the series approaches these and other situations. Bella looses herself in her relationship with Edward. Their
relationship, in fact, matches a great many of the points of an abusive relationship: possessiveness and jealousy, a partner
being controlling, isolating one from family or friends, violence, threat of suicide and more. Real love is freeing. Real
love doesn't control, it encourages each partner to be all he or she can be.
Twilight has other problems as well. If someone you know is reading or
watching this series, read this book to help you start conversations to guide them back to God's best for real love centered
A must for any one with a loved one reading/watching this series.
Faith element: High
(Also check out Cassie Scheidies' review of the movie.)
DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL WHAT MATTERS MOST by Melody Carlson ISBN
978-1-60142-119-7 Multnomah Books Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
ME, JUST DIFFERENT The reinvention of Skylar Hoyt By Stephanie
Morrill ISBN 978-0-8007-3377-3 Revell Reviewer Sarah Sawyer
A traumatic event leaves Skylar Hoyt wanting to make a change in her
life, but all her attempts are hampered by a possessive boyfriend, best friends that are rapidly turning into foes, and family
woes. Her parents are too consumed with their own issues to notice how she and her sister are struggling, and Skylar begins
to feel that the change she longs for will never happen.
Will Skylar find the peace she seeks in God, or will the pressures she
faces prove too much?
ME, JUST DIFFERENT deals realistically with many struggles teens face
in the process of seeking identity, and teen girls will likely enjoy this story.
Faith element: low
NORTH OR BE EATEN Wingfeather Saga #2 By Andrew Peterson ISBN
978-1-4000-7387-0 WaterBrook Press Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
They are the Lost Jewels of Anniera and are on the run. While brothers
Janner and Tink and sister Leeli have just discovered they are the Lost Jewels, the hidden away, royalty, of Anniera others
have been hunting them for a long time. Their cover is now blown and they are on the move home to a land they don't even remember.
But when they sometimes can't tell friend from foe and when they get separated, the odds grow long that they will ever see
peace, much less one another again.
NORTH OR BE EATEN is an adventure in the tradition of journey motifs
where most of the story and character development takes place as the character travel to a place of safety, having to struggle
along the way. Though the main characters are children 12 years old and below, they fight epic odds and deal with horrendously
evil, vile and violent creatures and beings along the way.
The story captures the reader's interest and as the story progresses
the book is more and more difficult to put down. But, while there is sense of release and satisfaction at the end, it is also
evident NORTH OR BE EATEN is just a part of a much longer life-journey for this family. I look forward to the next book.
Warning: very violent and descriptively graphic of the hideous creatures.
Faith element: very low
UNSIGNED HYPE By Booker T. Mattison ISBN 978-0-8007-3380-3 Revell Reviewer
All Tory Tyson wants is to play his beats. To be a star. To make his
momma and dead daddy proud. After he enters a radio contest, playing a track he created, he wins and life couldn’t be
greater. Then he meets Precious Lord and God starts interfering in his life. What’s up with that? Why can’t Terror
Tory do what he loves and still keep his integrity. Then the drama starts. Is stardom all Tory thought it was cracked up to
From the streets of Harlem to upper New York and every street corner
inbetween, Booker T. Mattison takes the reader for a whirlwind ride with teenager Tory. Tests of immorality, character, and
integrity abound as Tory lives his dream, only to have the sparkle threaten to fade.
UNSIGNED HYPE is a must-read for every teen, especially young boys, who
have a dream and love music. Written in the language of our youth and without being preachy, the book scores a ten on the
faith scale and challenges the readers to define words such as character, absolute truth, and moral standards. I look forward
to seeing more from Booker T. Mattison.
COMING ATTRACTIONS Katie Weldon Series By Robin Jones Gunn ISBN
Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
College graduation is nearing and Katie Weldon is trying to follow the
list set in place by her boyfriend, Rick. He’s everything she’s dreamed of since childhood, so why doesn’t
the restlessness in her heart stop? If she can’t keep her room clean, how can she keep her life in order? She asks God
for direction, but he doesn’t provide clear answers either. And why is Eli seeming interested in her? Or her roommate
in Rick? Life isn’t following the neat pattern put into place by Katie and Rick, instead following a wavy line that
turns on itself. Then Katie makes a decision that turns everything upside down.
Robin Jones Gunn takes the reader back into Katie Weldon’s college
life of turmoil. COMING ATTRACTIONS gives us a glimpse into how we should let God have control over our lives. His plan is
much better than something man can create. A six on the faith scale, the message is still there, interwoven among the character’s
topsy-turvy life and humorous mishaps.
Reviewer Sarah Sawyer
Katie Weldon has hit a pivotal point in her life—she’s about
to graduate college, and she and long-time boyfriend Rick are growing more serious. Normally spontaneous, she’s determined
that this time she will find a plan for her future and stick to it, thereby showing her maturity.
But what about the plan God has for her? While she’s considering
deepening her relationship with Rick, she’s about to find that God wants to deepen His relationship with her, and unfold
a better, more satisfying plan that she ever dreamed, one that will change everything she’s taking for granted—if
she will let Him.
Readers of the CHRISTY MILLER and SEIRRA JENSON series will appreciate
catching a glimpse of familiar characters once more. A solid conclusion to a series that young adults will enjoy.
Faith element: medium-high
SIR DALTON and THE SHADOW HEART The Knights of Arrethtrae #3 By
Chuck Black ISBN 978-1-60142-126-5 Multnomah Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
Dalton wants to leave the family business behind, become a knight of
the Prince, and win the hand of the fair maiden Brynn. If so, why can’t he answer questions about his beliefs when he
is approached by three unknown people? Why does a shadow of doubt hang heavy in his heart?
Then, Sir Dalton is captured by Drox, a formidable dark knight and thrown
in prison. How can serving the Prince benefit Dalton within the walls of fear? When Drox leaves Dalton as raven food, a strange
old man hears his cry for help. Dalton will never be the same.
SIR DALTON AND THE SHADOW HEART is a wonderful allegory of who Christ
is, and how even the hearts of believers can fall into shadow. Geared toward young adults, this story is entertaining for
all ages and will have us searching our hearts for how deep our own faith is. A ten on the faith scale.
DON’T LET ME GO What My Daughter Taught Me About the Journey Every Parent Must Make By David W. Pierce ISBN
978-0-30744-468-4 Waterbrook Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
David Pierce and his daughter Chera climb many mountains and run many
marathons together. When Chera first approaches David with this desire, he realizes she is growing up and decides to hold
on to her for as long as possible. Even if it means miles of climbing. What they learn through the process is priceless. Not
only does David write of their exploits; he writes a love story. One between him and his daughter.
The relationship between a father and a daughter parallels how our relationship
with our heavenly Father should be. In DON’T LET GO, David gives us deep, sometimes humorous glimpses into the love
he has for his daughter and takes us with him when he must “let her go” and give her to another.
Most parents don’t literally climb high mountains, but there are
obstacles to raising a child. DON’T LET GO helps us through our own climbs; our own marathons, gently nudging us to
hold on and then let go when the time is right.
DON’T LET GO is not preachy, not full of scripture, yet interlaced
with nuggets of God’s love and wisdom. A great read for any parent.
HERO Becoming the Man She Desires By Fred Stoeker & Jason Stoeker
with Mike Yorkey ISBN 978-1-4000-7109-8 WaterBrook Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Pg. 78 Alex had a serious stronghold of thought. ...strongholds are sympathetic
attitudes toward sin, or buying in to the wisdom of this world...
Both men and women have bought into the world's idea of love. Myths abound
that undermine relationships and that lead to perversion and lifelong addictions. The myths devalue women and encourages women
to devalue themselves while almost deifying sexual expression and experimentation. Who cares that hearts and lives are destroyed
in the process.
HERO tackles the myths head on with facts, figures, and examples from
real people. The foundation of this book are the stories of father Fred and son Jason and the different paths they took. Fred
was a child who bought into the 60's “free” love idea until he realized if something didn't change, he'd pass
on to his son the heartbreak his father passed onto him. Jason took the path of purity and, despite rejection and ridicule,
came to his marriage whole and pure—and it made all the difference.
Pg. 172: Respecting boundaries is an act of love.
An eye-opening look at truth. This book should be a must for every father
talking to his son about “the facts of life,” every youth group dealing with the subject of dating, husbands and
wives and men and women in general.
Don't let your kids leave home without a grounding in the truths presented
in HERO. Highly recommended.
Faith element: high
DIAMONDS IN THE SHADOW By Caroline B. Cooney ISBN 978-1-4000-7424-2 Waterbrook Reviewer
When the Finch family agrees to host a family of four, the Amabos; refugees
from Africa, they thought it would be a breeze. Teach them the American way and set them off to live their life. Unknown to
them, there were five refugees on the plane, and one of them is after something the Amabos hold in their possession.
Another thing they hadn’t planned on was falling in love with the
strange family who didn’t act like they belonged together. Jared, the Finch’s son, suspects all is not right with
the Amabo family, while his bouncy sister, Mopsy, is having the time of her life. Until their act of goodwill comes crashing
around their feet and the most troubled of the Amabos must take a stand against her enemy.
DIAMONDS IN THE SHADOW takes the reader into the horrors of Africa and
its “blood” diamond crisis. Yet, through it all, God’s love shines through and humankind’s strength
A medium on the faith scale.
SIR BENTLY AND THE HOLBROOK COURT The Knights of Arrethtrae Series
#2 By Chuck Black ISBN 978-1-60142-125-8 Multnomah Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
Sir Bentley, raised the son of a noble man, and swearing an oath to be
a Noble Knight. But his dream is not what he thought and he turns against family and court to follow word of a true Prince.
From knight to pauper, Bentley vows to discover what life really means and discovers a truth more powerful than he ever imagined.
Even when Bentley feels all is lost, he prevails and continues on the path chosen for him by the Prince, the son of the true
SIR BENTLEY is a true parable for today. A colorful fantasy painted with
the words of God’s truth and Christ’s love. From the first page to the last, the reader will be drawn into a portrait
of God’s word. Chuck Black has crafted a story to be enjoyed by anyone ages ten to a hundred.
JUST ANOTHER GIRL By Melody Carlson ISBN 978-0-8007-3257-8 Revell Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
Aster's older sister was all about herself. Their father left when the
girls were young. Aster's mom works long hours, partly Aster suspects, so as not to deal with the situation at home.
At 17, Aster is tired of being totally responsible for Lilly, her younger
mentally-challenged sister. While she loves Lily, Aster is ready for "normal"--like dating, like having time to call her own.
When a popular guy, Owen, pays her attention, Aster begins a journey
of maturity and faith.
What choices will she make when Lilly grows demanding, when Owen tempts
with a party life-style and when even her older sister Rose starts making sense?
As usual, Carlson holds the heartbeat of a teenage girl in her heart.
A book right where teens live.
Faith element: low, subtle but present
LET'S TALK ABOUT ANGER By Carolyn B Anderson ISBN 978-1-59824-577-06 E-BookTime
LLC Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Sports figures rant and rage. Political leaders angrily tear down opponents.
Movies, TV and video games elevate rage and revenge to new levels. Yet such anger is anything but productive. Despite cultural
influences, God calls us to peace, to thinking before speaking and acting and to love instead of hate.
This book helps parents and young people understand what anger is, how
it hurts and how we can control it. The book has chapters on anger as an emotion, about how it opens the door to the Devil,
how it leads to mistakes and hurting others and, most important, how anger separates us from God and His will for us.
Chapters are short and geared for elementary on up with thoughtful questions
at the end of each one. This book deals with an important topic—self-control—in an era when negative emotions
cause untold problems and heartache. A book for parents and children to work through together, or a Sunday School class, or
a Bible Study discussion. Fills a definite need for today.
Faith element: high
IT'S A GREEN THING: DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
By Melody Carlson
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
All Maya Stark wants to be is a “normal”
teen, away from her addicted mom and well-known father. But when a seemly minor accident leads to huge consequences, Maya
must deal with forgiveness, dating, life and decisions regarding all of them. Will she rise to the challenge?
Maya is also a “green” girl, which
plays a huge part in the book. Each chapter ends with green tips.
This story is high on the faith scale and a
great book to hand to your teen, who has questions about dating, faith and other issues facing teens.
FIREFLIES IN DECEMBER By Jennifer Erin Valent ISBN 978-4143-2432-6 Tyndale
House Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Thirteen-year-old Jessilyn had a loving family, good friends and lived
in a small town where everyone knew and pretty cared about one another—at least so it seemed. When fire takes the lives
of the parents of her friend Gemma and her family takes in the young girl, Jessilyn and her family discover just how many
wrong assumptions they've made about faith, friends, family and a whole belief system of what is right for “coloreds
Told against a 1930's Southern prejudice, FIREFLIES IN DECEMBER is a
potent story about a young girl growing up, seeing the evil side of life and having to make choices of faith, love and hate.
In one way or another we are all touched by our own prejudice or that directed against us as the wrong religion, the wrong
race, the wrong status. This should be a must read for families and in schools.
MY MOTHER'S WISH An American Christmas Carol By Jerry Camert-Hoggatt ISBN
978-1-4000-7405-1 WaterBrook Press Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Her mother named her after her grandmother and was determined no one
would call her daughter anything but Eleanor. From the first, Eleanor responded only to Ellee, what she felt was her true
Clash of wills over the name grow until Ellee wants out. Though miracles
happen at Christmas, can the Spirit of Christmas reach this estranged mother and daughter?
Told through the rather off-beat, sometimes fanciful heart of Ellee,
this book is a different story, but still a Christmas story of faith, new beginnings, and hope. It is a story of being loved
just for who we are. A reminder we all need at times—especially at Christmas. A story for mothers and daughters everywhere.
Faith element: low
DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL: A NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIFE By Melody Carlson ISBN
978-1-60142-117-3 Multnomah Reviewer Elisabeth H. Bantz
She's fifteen, daughter of a former rock star and
former actress (now divorced), living in a multi-million dollar home in Beverly Hills, and more together than either parent.
Miserable, yes, but she's making the most of what she has. Left on her own for days at a time, I immediately feel her pain
of abandonment, yet applaud her ingenuity as she grows vegetables in the garden (often the only food she gets since her mother
wastes her child-care checks on her habits) and finds herself a job selling designer clothes on Rodeo Drive.
goal is to be emancipated from her parents by age sixteen.
Encouraged by a newly discovered cousin early on in
the book, she records her daily accomplishments and set-backs in a diary, until at last some adults take some action on her
behalf, and she meets again the God of her youth, the God of her grandmother. The trip is memorable.
seems abrupt, but since it is the first book in a series, perhaps it was meant to be. Faith element, low to medium.
THE MIRACLE GIRLS By Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt ISBN-13:
978-0-446-40755-7 FaithWords Reviewer Sarah Sawyer
Moving to a new city is a major transition for anyone, but when you are
in high school and have no choice in the matter, the difficulties multiply. To Ana Dominguez, her family’s move to Half
Moon Bay is the end of all good in life. Her new high school is tough, new friends are nowhere to be found, and her parents’
expectations of her are higher than ever.
When she lands in detention for the first time in her life and a teacher
assigns her and her fellow detention mates an essay on “The Day My Life Changed” she writes of how God miraculously
spared her life as a child. When three other girls—including one she counted as an enemy—share similar stories,
it begins to form a bond between them. As she struggles through new and challenging experiences, Ana learns about true friendship
and begins to see how God didn’t just work one miracle in her life, but is constantly at work on her behalf.
THE MIRACLE GIRLS is a lighthearted, entertaining tale with faith themes
woven throughout. Recommended for a teen girl audience.
Faith element: Medium
HELP! MY FAMILY’S MESSED UP By Emily Parke Chase ISBN 978-0-8254-2438-0 Kregel
Publications Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
So many things can tear a family apart. Divorce, neglect, drugs, abuse,
etc. Issues that are difficult enough to deal with as an adult, but to a teenager or child, these matters can be particularly
overwhelming. In today’s “me” focused world, where does a teen or young adult turn? Their friends or the
Bible? Both are full of lives torn apart by dysfunctional families.
Using real life stories, both sad and heartening, Emily Parke Chase gets
to the root of the problems our young people face, showing them they aren’t alone, and giving them the tools to break
down the barriers life throws in their way.
HELP! MY FAMILY’S MESSED UP should be on the shelf of every guidance
counselor, school counselor, social worker, and teacher. Every youth pastor should have this handy for their use, and to hand
out to hurting teens in their care. This book should be required reading for foster and adoptive parents. The list goes on.
Having adopted three of my twenty-three prior foster children, this book
would have been invaluable. It will be sitting, at the ready, waiting to be passed on to someone who needs the wisdom printed
between its pages.
BIBLE ANSWERS FOR STUDENTS ISBN 978-1-59789-945-1 Barbour Publishing
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
As much as we'd like our kids to be in the Word, it doesn't always happen
to the extent we'd like. We also want them to absorb our values, which, hopefully, mirror God's values. I did study the Bible
as a child, yet when I found a little book a lot like this one, I kept it for years. It helped me tremendously.
Why? Because the book took important issues alphabetized them and under
each category, showed what the Bible said about each subject. When I was struggling with what God's approach to a problem
was, I didn't have to thumb through my Bible. I could just flip through my little book and find the verses that applied—exactly
when I needed them.
BIBLE ANSWERS FOR STUDENTS does even more than my little book from my
childhood. It is larger, though still small enough to fit in a purse, and covers more subjects. It also uses several different
versions in the passages quoted. But the impact remains, giving students quick Biblical answers to today's problems.
While this is geared to students, I like to think we're all students,
because this book would be useful for every Christian to have handy. Great gift for students of every age.
DRAGONLIGHT DragonKeeper Chronicles By Donita K Paul ISBN 978-1-4000-7378-8 WaterBrook
Press Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
The land is finally at peace and DragonKeeper Kale and her husband Sir
Bardon enjoy their time together. But even peace comes at a price as the Followers, who claim to follow Wulder, instead subtly
begin leading people away. With the unrest comes disturbing attacks on Kale that lead Kale and Bardon on a quest for the truth.
But will they be able to discover the truth of an ancient legend and if true, will they and their friends be able to destroy
the evil before it consumes everything good—including their lives?
In this last of the series, I felt right at home in the world Donita
has created with such depth and wonder. The story was told with heart and with layers that bring a reader back again. The
story also brought together the characters that have given life to this intriguing and imaginative story, nicely tying up
Often, by the time I've gotten to the last book of a series, I'm ready
for the story to be finished. This book was as fresh as the first and yet I felt like I was among old friends. I am looking
forward to Donita's newest series, that sounds like a spin off of this one.
Will a reader not familiar with the series be able to pick up this one
and enjoy it? Yes, I think so. Donita's style takes us right into the heart of both story and characters, giving the reader
a stake in the outcome.
The faith message is clear, drawing us from the fantasy world to a God
who has a plan and purpose for our lives if we follow him. Another winner from Donita.
THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER By Stephanie Reed ISBN 978-0-8254-3574-4 Kregel
Publications Reviewer Carolyn R. Scheidies
Johnny had trouble keeping information to himself. This made him especially
dangerous to his family who were part of the underground railroad. Yet, Johnny turns out to be the key in spiriting to safety
a brave woman who changes his mind about the importance of their work and of keeping secrets.
Built around a true account, this book takes you back to the heart of
slavery and the very real danger for those assisting slaves to freedom. The author does a superb job of helping us see through
the eyes of the characters as we live the race to freedom.
One of the best books I've read this year. Though designated as juvenile
fiction, this is a book for all ages.
DO HARD THINGS: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations By Alex
and Brett Harris ISBN 978-1-60142-112-8 Multnomah Reviewer Melanie Jones
Twin brothers Alex and Brett Harris aren't content to coast through their
teen years, and they are on a mission to encourage other teens to follow their lead. Laying the groundwork for "the Myth of
Adolescence," the 19-year-olds say the teen years are a modern invention that often equals wasted years. Instead of lazing
about or making common teen mistakes, they say teens should be laying the groundwork for a successful life, using their younger
years as a launching pad.
Working through a list of five "hard things," such as stepping out of
your comfort zone and standing against the crowd, the brothers introduce teens they've met through conferences and their blog,
www.therebelution.com, who have taken their words to heart. Doing hard things will lead to a "rebellion,"
they say, a rebellion against expectations that leads to a revolution.
The first-person plural point of view can be a bit taxing, especially
when the authors slip into second person or first-person singular to tell individual stories, but that's a challenge in all
coauthored nonfiction. Like their older brother before them (Joshua Harris, author of I KISSED DATING GOODBYE, the teens set
forth a challenge for their generation.
But they warn readers out front, it will take hard work. Alex and Brett
back up their points with scripture, using 1 Timothy 4:12 as their theme verse: "Don't let anyone look down on you because
you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (NIV).
REAL GIRLS OF THE BIBLE A Devotional By Mona Hodgson ISBN 978-0-310-71338-8 ZonderKidz
Publishing Reviewer Cynthia Hickey
Bad Girls gone good? Is it possible for the women in the Bible stories
we grew up with to not be perfect? Is it their strength or God’s that make these women so memorable? Can events of thousands
of years past have any relevance in today’s world?
Written in a language today’s teens can understand, REAL GIRLS
OF THE BIBLE, speaks to young women, showing them the faults of Biblical characters and the strength and power of God.
Mona Hodgson directs the reader to scripture with stories of Sarah, Miriam,
Abigail, and others, then applies life application in order to help our girls of today deal with the issues they face each
day. Being way past the teen years myself, I found myself drawn into these women’s stories, recognizing many of the
issues with which I still struggle.
THE CHOSEN A Circle Novel By Ted Dekker ISBN 13: 978-1-59554-359-2 Thomas
Nelson Publishers Reviewer Michelle Levigne
Don’t you loves quest stories? Especially when the hero is young,
inexperienced and full of doubts, his companions doubt him, and even though mystical, magical creatures give them instructions,
something goes wrong because someone disobeyed.
THE CHOSEN is Johnis, a young man who didn’t make the first cut
when a new generation of warriors were being chosen to defend their people against the disgusting, diseased, insane Horde.
An unexpected chance makes their revered leader, Thomas Hunter, not only notice him but choose him for a final test for leadership.
The errand Johnis and the other candidates are sent on seems simple and straightforward enough … but their bickering
and ambushes along the way catapult Johnis into his destiny.
I love series books, where the adventure continues and you get to stay
with your favorite characters. What I don’t love is coming into a series halfway through or even at the end. References
to events in previous Circle books helped a little, but not enough for me to feel at home in this new world.
References to our world and culture (such as football, or someone called
a jerk, or mystical flying creatures practicing karate) were a little jarring, even after learning Thomas Hunter came from
our world. I admit, I’m picky when it comes to my fantasy worlds, so don’t let my quibbles dissuade you.
This is a fast-paced book, and you grow to like Johnis and his three
companions, so you don’t dare put the book down until they’re safely home.
Faith element: Pretty strong -- faith leads to seeing, doing what's right
no matter what, just because Elyon said to do it, etc.. The allegorical elements are pretty clear -- fallen angels, angels,
Lucifer, washing in the water of life, etc.
HOT ISSUES COOL CHOICES Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure,
Popularity and Put-Downs By Sandra McLeod Humphrey ISBN 978-1-59102-569-4 Prometheus Books Reviewer Carolyn R
I, often say that non-fiction books tell, while fiction
shows. Fiction applies what non-fiction explains. That is the key to this book about bullying in schools. In a series of short,
situational stories, Humphrey sets up one of the many bullying situations that happen every day in schools-- emotional blackmail,
teasing, assault of some sort and so much more. The stories are captured with catchy titles, and think about “what to
do” questions at the end of each scenario, as well as “Trading Places” questions. The book is buttressed
with a section at the end about bullying, statistics and what can be done.
This is a book best used in a discussion situation. It
is written to help students “see” themselves and others and to give them a chance to think through their response
and how it will effect those around them.
An excellent resource for parents and teachers.
Faith element: N/A
THIS IS ME (For Girls) By Jeffery Dean ISBN 13: 978-1-59052-985-0 Multnomah Reviewer
Carolyn R Scheidies
Our culture doesn't help girls become women of integrity or women with either morals or self-worth
intact. THIS IS ME, which deals with faith, dating, sex, family, commitment and so much more, helps young women face the culture
with courage. This book shows young women how they can become the women not only who please God, but who value themselves.
For individual or group study.
WATCH THIS( For Guys) A Getting-There Guide To Manhood For Teen Guys By Jeffrey
Dean ISBN 13: 978-1-59052-984-3 Multnomah Books Reviewer: Michelle Levigne
How to define this book full of man-to-almost-man honesty, humor, challenge and Biblical truth?
Jeffrey Dean, former rock star (honest!) and youth speaker, uses episodes from his life, from the lives and struggles of other
boys and men, and illustrations from the Bible to face growing boys with the choices they have to make NOW, today, not in
a few years, not hypothetical situations which, because they’re reading a Christian book or were raised in a Christian
home, they’ll probably never face.
Everybody will face the challenges and choices that Dean discusses. Peer pressure, purpose
in life, dating, sex, drugs. The big watershed moments that actually start quite small, with little things that gain size
and speed until suddenly a guy finds himself on the edge, and there’s no turning back – kind of like, as he shares
in one illustration, taking your hot Mustang from 5th gear to reverse. It won’t happen without a lot of mess and pain.
Offering places where guys can write down their thoughts, ideas, problems, and answers to
the questions he poses, Dean creates an interactive experience without sound effects, computer graphics or Internet real-time
discussions. He helps boys plan and prepare, so if they can’t avoid those painful times in life, they can at least survive
with some dignity and minimal pain, and grow closer to God. Funny thing is, a lot of the principles he teaches, the questions
that he asks, can be applied to girls, too. Worth reading, even if you aren’t a teen-age boy.
BREAKING UP He's Just Not that Into God By Stina
Wilson ISBN 13: 978-0-8254-3937-7 Kregel Publications Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
You've hooked up with someone who isn't a Christian. You
want to serve Jesus, but you LOVE your boyfriend who tugs at your heartstrings and the natural longing to have someone here
and now. You can't let him go until he comes to know Christ, can you? Yes, you can. In fact, you can't rescue anyone. That's
God's job and hanging on to a relationship the violates what you believe may well keep your boyfriend from taking you—or
your faith seriously.
But it is soooo hard.
The author takes us on her journey with all her backtracking
and mistakes to help young women not make some of the same choices she did of choosing temporal satisfactions for the deep
love God offers. She doesn't make it easy, but does show how choosing what is right makes life more fulfilling and positive.
Pg. 72 Addresses that emotional tie that draws us back
into sinful entanglements: “When our emotions take over, we have to remember and remind ourselves of the truth.
Pick up your Bible and pray to truly believe what it says. ...Letting go is a conscious choice. ...don't look back.”
I read this book thinking of the young women it might help,
but found this book goes beyond the boyfriend-girlfriend relationship to how to win those battles of temptation that happen
to every one of us. This book should be in the hands of every Christian young woman.
PLAYING WITH FIRE The Secret Life of Samantha Mcgregor
#3 By Melody Carlson ISBN 13: 978-1-59052-694-1 Multnomah Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Samantha is having visions again and this one links her
brother with drugs. But after a stint in rehab, isn't he back on track? Maybe not. As Samantha gets deeper into the police
investigation, she discovers things she never wanted to know, finds her heart ripped with reality and the solid truth that
without her faith she won't survive.
Faith is never dumbed down in these books. But that doesn't
mean the author doesn't deal with issues critical to the life of today's teens. Carlson's story hooks readers of any age and
draws then into a fast-paced world of loss, discovery, pain and faith.
BREAKING FREE By Lauraine Snelling ISBN 10: 0-446-58208-5 ISBN
13: 978-0-446-58208-7 FaithWords Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Maggie Roberts dreams of getting out of prison and beginning
life on the outside. She grabs the possibility of parole by accepting a position in a new program of working with horses,
broken by life. In doing so, she meets the wild Breaking Free. When the two bond, she has no idea that it will propel her
to a future she couldn’t even dream.
As always, Snelling draws compelling characters, including
a boy with disabilities who loves horses, and with all the horsey details horse lovers crave. Add in a compelling story of
betrayal, forgiveness, challenge, hope and romance and you have a cohesive combination that works. The element of faith is
present through drawn with a light touch. For tweens on up.
By Kathy Herman
ISBN 10: 1-59052-921-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-59052-921-8
Multnomah $12.99 US
When she returns
to her small hometown of Jacob’s Ear, Colorado, Ivy Griffith doesn’t look like the same person who fled her
parents’ home a decade earlier. Aged beyond her close to 30 years and thinned by her hard life of drugs and poor decisions,
Ivy brings her seven-year-old son and a 70-year old friend to her parents’ home, seeking peace and release from a hidden
secret that’s scarred her life.
school boyfriend doesn’t recognize her at first, but realizes the risk she poses for him. Would she keep her part of
the pact, and not tell about the murder?
A gripping story
of tragedy, consequences, forgiveness, and hope, Kathy Herman’s novel EVER PRESENT DANGER is an excellent read.A breath of fresh air, this book holds strong moral values, presents the gospel, and
tells a story that offers warnings, hope, and restoration.Recommended for teens,
young adults and reading discussion groups.Great book!
By Shelley Beach
ISBN 13: 978-0-8254-2436-6
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Mona ached for the separation
from her sister and her niece because of a disaster that happened when Hallie and her sister were in her care. What she didn’t
expect was to have Hallie run away from home to the beach house Mona owned where the disaster happened or that in helping
her niece deal with her pain, Mona must learn to deal with her own issues of faith and forgiveness.
A story with deep hurting
characters who find the way back to wholeness, though the journey isn’t easy and the way is rough. Add in to this story
of faith and forgiveness, interesting as well as eccentric characters and a hint of romance and you have a story that brings
both laughter and tears.
ANDREA CARTER AND THE DANGEROUS DECISION
By Susan K. Marlow
ISBN 10: 0-8254-3357-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-8254-3357-3
When Andrea races through town on her swift
horse only to almost run down the new teacher, the rather persnickety man takes a distinct dislike for the girl he sees as
disrespectful and a mischief maker. Andrea tries to be good, but things just seem to happen to her that keeps her on the outs
not only with the teacher, but also with his less-than-honest daughter. But when a convicted murderer shows up at school,
Andrea must decide whether or not to stand in the gap for those who look down on her the most.
I read this book from cover to cover in
one sitting, enjoying every moment. The book transported me back to when I was a young woman who loved to ride and race and
who seemed to find trouble. This is the sort of book I would have loved reading as much then as I did now. This Andrea Carter
book, as well as others in the series, pull together the ingredients of a page turner for those from elementary on up, early
American west, horses, mystery, and lots of trouble mixed in with faith, family and fun.
A good read with memorable characters and
a page-turner story.
HEIR OF THE FORGOTTEN REALM
By Michael J Svigal
ISBN 10: 0-9787316-3-8
ISBN 13: 978-09787316-3-2
Baker Tritton Press $10.95
Lord Lukas fought his fear of flames, but
to no avail. So strong was his fear that he cowered when his bride-to-be was snatched up at their betrothal ceremony by an
evil dragon. There was only one way to save Lilia and that was to defeat the dragon. He could only do that with a combination
of weapons and protection gained by tests of commitment, courage, justice and sacrifice. Along his journey, Lukas discovers
his greatest fears, the depth of his heart and the truth of whom he is and whom he’s destined to become---if he chooses
the right path.
Faith is not really an element of
the story though fate does raise a hesitant head. Nevertheless, this is an adventure of struggle and swords, of both inner
and outer courage with an ending that ties up all the loose ends.
A BULLY’S DOOM
By Robert Hansen
ISBN 10: 0-9787316-1-1
ISBN 13: 978-09787316-1-8
Baker Tritton Press $10.95
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
thought he was somebody because he could intimidate almost everyone from his parents and the other students at school to the
teachers. Some had even quit because of his cruel, dominating words and actions. He stole lunch money and no one wanted to
be near him, fearing he might turn on them. Only one student was consistently kind to him, no matter what tricks Griffith
pulled on him. He anticipates another teacher showdown with his latest English teacher. Only things don’t go as planned.
In fact, as the teacher begins to tell his story, Griffith finds himself in another
place, a place he tries to dominate. He discovers the people aren’t impressed at all with him. What does shake them
with fear is the monster in the hills.
Thinking he must get rid of the dragon-like monster in order to be taken seriously, Griffith seeks to do just that
only to get a lesson in what it means to be the one hunted, tricked, picked on and terrorized. But will he get the message
of the story before the monster takes the ultimate revenge?
Writing the bully as the main character adds a different twist to the hero/villain scenario, while the fantasy elements
tend to draw in tweeners, especially those who are also gamers. However, unlike many video games, this is also a moral tale
with a positive conclusion.
While I felt a bit fuller conclusion would have left me more satisfied, the story did tie up loose ends. An interesting
change of pace for the tweener looking for something different.
MANNERS MATTER for STUDENTS
By Fred Hartley & Andrea Hartley Smith
Barbour Publishing $9.97
I can see the eyes rolling when the word MANNERS comes up, but manners are simply a way of showing others you care
about and respect them—and they, you. I certainly don’t want someone belching in my face. What about those moments
when you are introducing someone or being introduced and your mind freezes because you don’t know what to say or do?
What about eating out and the unexpected happens? How do you deal with the situation? Manners are the key. Learning and practicing
some basic manners keeps us from looking like complete dorks in front of others.
Manners aren’t just for your parents or other adults. Manners are fundamental to positive social interactions.
Unfortunately, we don’t emphasize manners much, leaving our young people twisting in the wind in social situations.
(Sometimes this is because mom and dad haven’t learned them either.)
This book in a larger print, lots of white space, easy to read format hits the teen where they live—those social
situations that terrify and petrify. From hygiene to dating, this book helps the student confidently deal with personal and
social situations with confidence.
I’d like to see parents and youth groups go through this book with their kids. A real must for today’s
teens—and their parents.
By Melody Carlson
Multnomah Publishers $11.99
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Samantha isn’t really overly worried when her on-off friend Kayla goes missing. She knows Kayla is in full-scale
rebellion against rules, parents, etc. But when Samantha begins having dreams and visions of Kayla in serious trouble, she
begins a reluctant journey that leaves her vulnerable to those, like her mom, who thinks she needs counseling, leaves her
questioning her faith as well as her visions, and shoves her into more danger than she ever imagined.
Will Samantha’s visions be taken seriously by the investigators in time to save a life?
This story has nothing to do with psychics or hocus-pocus, but on the Biblical gifts God gives his children, exploring
faith, actions and the consequences of decisions. This is suspense and faith rolled into one. A good, solid read.
FOR YOUNG WOMEN ONLY
By Shaunti Feldhahn
Multnomah Publishers $13.99
Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies
Girls watch parents, movies, TV, friends
and read magazine articles that impact how they view and interact with the guys in their lives. Often, they believe that love
is all there is and if they give enough “love” the guy in their life will make a long-term commitment. We women
tend to see all our relationships from our point of view and we teach, often by our example, our teens to do the same. Only
guys don’t view the world the same as we do.
Shocking as it may seem, guys aren’t
all about love. In fact, from Feldhahn’s extensive research, she discovered guys value respect more than love. They
need to be respected and putting them down or telling jokes at their expense quells their feelings—and their self-confidence.
On top of that, though they may “play” with girls who will do anything for attention, they respect girls who value
themselves enough to wait for a ring and an “I do.”
Like FOR WOMEN ONLY does for adult women,
this book is a real eye-opener for the teen/young adult. What do those teen guys really think, like and look for? This book
clues us in and helps us value the guys in our lives, not from our point of view, but from theirs.
I highly recommend moms and daughters read
these books together.
THE FINAL STORM
#3 The Door Within Trilogy
By Wayne Thomas Batson
Tommy Nelson $16.99
In this third and last book of the trilogy, Aidan must try to get through to Robby only to discover why his friend
has been turned away from the right path. Will Robby listen to his friend and read the truth in the scrolls? His decision
in this world has serious consequences for Antoinette in the other world where she's being held captive by the forces of evil.
With the ancient legends of evil proving true, will deliverance from The Three Witnesses also prove more than a legend?
In this final story, the forces of
good and evil are joined in epic battle for supremacy of not only territory, but also of heart and mind. This book and its
characters so captured my attention, I had to keep turning the pages until that final "ah" moment where good wins out and
all is right with a new world order. Though the story of book two and three is continuous and I highly suggest reading these
books together, this finale of the series is dynamic and intense fully engaging the reader. This series could well become
LUPE VARGAS AND HER BEST FRIEND
LUPE VARGAY SU SUPER MEJOR AMIGA
Text: A Costalas
Illustrations: Alexandra Artigas
ISBN 13: 978-0-87358-888-1
ISBN 10: 0-87358-888-6
Lupe and Maritza were best buds. Each day
they came up with something new to do. On Monday they were pirates. Tuesday they were private detectives. Wednesday was something
new and fun that drove their neighbor crazy. But one day they had a fight and the good times stopped until they learned to
This bi-lingual English/Spanish story is
just plain fun with illustrations that make you smile. The lesson learned is subtle, but definitely a starter point for discussion.
A book the kids will read over and over,
but be watchful. It may just give your kids wonderful, fun ideas. A winner.
THAT SINKING FEELING
By Janye Tromp
Kregel Publications $5.99
Audrey really tries, but things seldom work out the way she
intends. It doesn't help that in investigating a series of burglaries, the tween gets her best buddy Max injured in a diving
accident, especially since she disobeyed her parents (and the ruled of diving) to do so.
She begins to feel even God must hate her as she continues
to find trouble. But not everything is her fault, but that doesn't stop the dangerous criminals from going after Audrey and
Audrey learns God loves, forgives even in the worst circumstances
as we come to Him.
With a message of forgiveness and hope when we goof up, the
book is one that will appeal to tweens with its strong male and female leads and a mystery that draws in the reader.
THE BLAZING CENTER
By John Piper
ISBN 1-59052-684-8 (DVD) $29.9
ISBN 1-59052-685-6 (Study Guide) $9.99
Piper takes faith, joy and love to a new dimension in this
DVD/study guide teaching series geared for teens to adults.
Over and over he makes the point that love is an overflow of
the joy and satisfaction we know in Christ, that salvation is not just making Jesus Lord & Savior, but our most valued
Treasure as well. The more we know Him, the more we glorify Him in thought word and action, the more joy we will know. Such
joy will spill over into love not only for God, but also love, unselfish love, for others.
While this is not as entertaining as many DVD series I've seen
(no overheads, props etc.), it has a solid ring of truth that, along with the study guide, draws the audience into not only
a relationship with Christ, but one not of duty, but of joy.
Published by Tangerine Sky Publications,
Izzy and his mutt Bubbles find themselves on an adventure to discover Heaven when Izzy’s father presents him with is
own Astro Speedchaser 5000 for his birthday. They time-shift to earth and find themselves chased by bullies and taken in by
an elderly lady who seeks to answer Izzy’s questions about Heaven. But will he get the answers before he is captured
Tweeners will identify with Izzy who feels, and is, out of place on earth, but
who longs to fill the emptiness inside. The dog and his boy story with a very large green twist. It is a fun ride across the
galaxy, yet with a serious message.
By Olivia & Kurt Bruner
Center Street $11.99
Gaming has become the “in”
thing. Everyone talks about the latest release with the fervency of a sports fan. Our kids “hook up” and give
us free time while they are interacting with a game. Better than vegging in front of the TV, right? Maybe not.
The authors wrote this book out of their
own experience, incorporating experiences from other parents and kids as well as studies and statistics. The revelation? Way
too many kids are actually addicted to video games with an addiction every bit as deadly serious as alcohol or drugs and with
the similar results—dysfunction, inability to interact in the real world, or taking the negatively learned behavior
into the real world.
Does your child get glossy-eyed from game
playing? Find it difficult to limit time spent? Does your child lie about how long or when he/she plays? Has your child become
less interested in other activities, growing morose or aggressive? These are all signs of addiction.
Time wasted can never be retrieved.
Yet, games are geared to suck in the player, offering rewards of levels or points or lives, allowing the player to be the
hero, the mastermind, the person who is somebody. The high is similar to that received from other addictions, actually making
changes in brain function. A child focused on these artificial highs may never know what normal is, may never understand the
simple joys of living in the real world or interacting with real people. Gamers have become so entrenched in their games they’ve
taken it to the real world focusing inward, suicide, or outward, such as in the Columbine-style murders.
The basic message is clear. Parents must
exercise their role of parents and call the shots when it comes to playing video games. Parents must either get rid of the
game machines or severely limit them, while not using them as rewards. Parents must take care any games played are appropriate
and check out even those rated for the age of their child. Parents must not give in or give up. Your child’s life and
well-being may be at stake.
This is a must read for every parent—and
child old enough to read it.
THE LIFE OF TEENAGERS AIN'T NO JOKE
Living A Courageous Childhood, In
An Unforgiving World
By Keith G Wright
ANJ Books $19.95
Reviewer: Kay Tira
Keith G. Wright offers good, sound
and even Biblical advice to teens. However his commendable straight-forward approach is tinged with some uncouth presentation,
even in his introduction: “I’m not going to blow smoke up your butts and
repeat the same ‘rah rah’ cliché’s that many adults throw your way.” (page 2).
While his advice is embraceable, like No
Joke Teen Truth #235: “Wise teenagers know that there’s a time and place
for everything,” (page 35), his coarse presentation and his continual reference to teens as “children”
are likely to distance his audience from his message.
In the right setting, or with supervision, Wright’s book has value. Left to itself,
the value may become lost in the presentation, and be received by teens as another lecture from an adult. For someone looking
for truth and solid advice, it may be well received. Wright calls it like he sees it.
At fourteen, Jamaal is already getting
a look from NBA scouts and begins to see his future as a great basketball player. His plans do not include school. Why bother?
When his grandmother discovers his failing grades, she takes action to turn the situation around by getting him involved with
Ken Blackwell’s political campaign, showing him how life is not just about getting, it’s about giving as well.
It’s about expanding dreams beyond selfish ambition and how important learning and growing really are.
We have few enough heroes today.
Ken Blackwell sounds like one of the good guys, someone we can point to and say, “follow.”
DREAMCHASER is a story a lot of teens need to read.
Aiden had already made his mark in
the mirror realm. Now he wanted to reach his friend with the truth in this world, before his Glimpse in the other realm destroyed
them both. Only this time, the future of the other realm rests in the hands of his friend Antoinette. But can even she make
a difference when an evil greater than Paragor arises?
This second in the trilogy draws
the reader into the world-shattering, cataclysmic battle, leaving us taking a breath and waiting for the conclusion of the
war in the last of the series.
Those who enjoy reading about the battle
of good and evil, and who like the Narnia book: The Last Battle book will want to check out this inventive series. Also gives
a more positive spin on our world than Harry Potter, and without the magic.
A compilation of 50 devotional
topics ranging from peer pressure to murder and every hot topic in between, CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH??? is an excellent resource
for youth workers or for personal use by teens. Topics include video games, violence, abuse, fear, and more.
For each devotional, a situational
summary of a specific topic is presented, followed by a “What does the Bible say?” section including several related
scripture verses.This is followed by a “How Does this Affect me?”
section, bringing strong application to Biblical counsel.
Highly recommended, this
book would be a great gift for teens, youth workers, Sunday school teachers, or anyone who has concern for young people. Excellent
content and format.
story of Eric Liddell, Scottish Olympic gold medal winner and missionary to China, provides the reader with not only a biography,
but with Olympic history, and an inspiring look at missions. Caughey covers Liddell’s lifespan – including childhood,
collegiate, courtship, marriage, parenting and missions aspects. Eric Liddell’s speed and skill won the hearts of the
public, and helped open doors for him to share the gospel.
Liddell was known
for his “windmill” flailing of arms as he raced and for his refusal to race on the Sabbath (or Sunday???), holding
true to his convictions. Additionally, his positive relations with competitors as he shook their hands and wished them success
in their running, made an impact on the public.
his verbal and lifestyle testimony, Liddell was a person of integrity and passion. His years on the mission field were marked
with times of war and struggle, and eventual death due to illness. His testimony lives on, and his passion for sharing God’s
love continues through others in his wake.
Recommended reading for youth
and adult alike.
ROSA TAKES A
MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS IN THE
DUST BOWL YEARS
Copyright 2006-Susan Martins
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Reviewer Sandra Thayer
In this slice of American
History we meet Rosa and her family, who have immigrated to Texas to find work and a better life. The trials that plague this
family as they face loss of crops, income and health from the severe drought and the horrendous dust storms, is truly heart-rending.
It is young Rosa's faith in God and determination to receive a
good education that keeps hope alive in her family and community. Her spirit of perseverance in the face of tremendous obstacles
, both encourages and fortifies the reader that, with God's help, even the impossible can be accomplished.
JANIE'S FREEDOM - AFRICAN
AMERICANS IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE CIVIL WAR
Copyright 2006 Callie Smith
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Reviewer Sandra Thayer
History comes alive in this
well researched and entertaining story of Janie, a newly freed slave girl, who is caught up in the whirlwind of post Civil
War change. When freedom comes to Rubyhill Plantation, Janie and the other ex-slaves find themselves in uncharted waters.
Uneducated, hungry, and fearful, they face an uncertain future.
Five of the young people,
including Janie, find the courage to head north in search of employment opportunities and a new life. Outfitted with only
their few earthly possessions and faith in God and each other, they must make adult decisions and face unknown hardships along
Can they learn to trust God's
provision for them and the unexpected kindness of strangers? Together the 'Rubyhill five' experience the triumphs and tragedies
of their newly found freedom and clearly demonstrate the resiliency of the human spirit.
This is a palatable
way to serve up a slice of American History with characters so believable that readers, both young and old, will easily get
caught up in the story.
once known as Prince Kaboo in Africa, received his new name when he received his new life in Christ. Once a child captive,
beaten, whipped and close to death, Prince Kaboo experienced something similar to the biblical Saul, when he saw a bright
light and heard a voice. The voice told him to “flee, flee,” and he did. Eventually learning about Jesus, and
receiving a new name, Samuel Morris traveled to America to seek out one to teach him about the Holy Ghost.
A story of faith
and miracles, Samuel Morris’s biography continues to touch lives, as his own life brought changes to those with whom
he came in contact.
Morris was a
humble young man who believed in God and his power, and lived it out well, influencing lives and making an impact on a university
W. Terry Whalin does a great
job of telling the story of Samuel Morris. Highly recommended reading for young and old, this missionary story challenges
the reader to a deeper walk with God.
biography is an amazing story of selflessness, commitment, and determined progress. Following the lead of her hero David Livingstone,
Mary served Christ in uncivilized areas of Africa, enduring hardships far beyond our cultured experience.
Author Sam Wellman
captures Slessor’s life story in an understandable and enjoyable story format, covering early days through death, and
years of hard work and loyal servant hood in between.
experiences caused her to rely on the power of God to lead, communicate, train and even judge in tribal settings. Her efforts
battled superstitions, alcohol, killings, and tribal traditions. Even when her health became poor, Mary battled on and was
challenged to “real life” as she saw opportunities to further the cause of Christ.
and humbling, the story of Mary Slessor is recommended reading for youth and adults.
Heroes of the
Faith: SOME GAVE ALL
of Missionary Martyrs
By Ellen Caughey
Barbour Publishing Inc. $2.97
Reviewer: Kay Tira
Ellen Caughey’s collection
of missionary stories includes those of John Birch, Betty Olsen, Lottie Moon, and Nate Saint. Caughey captures their common
desire to spread God’s Word to the world.
Providing snippets of diary
entries, comments, or written communication, Caughey tells the stories of these missionaries, including some childhood experiences,
processes of entering the mission field, and eventual cost of lives. While some of the reading is entertaining, other parts
are educational and encouraging, with the overall work being a testimony of great faith, commitment, and sacrifice.
Recommended reading for older youth and adult.
Heroes of the
Faith: KEN TAYLOR
Bible to Life
By Jim Kraus
Barbour Publishing Inc. $1.99
Reviewer: Kay Tira
From young adulthood through
college, courtship, marriage and career, Ken Taylor’s life is documented and described in an easy-to-read and enjoyable
format in HEROES OF THE FAITH: KEN TAYLOR.
Taylor’s struggle with
decision-making, his vision for spreading God’s Word, and his successes and failures are included in this book. The
green, hard-backed Living Bible has been part of my own spiritual journey, and the story of Ken Taylor’s life and involvement
in bringing his paraphrase to the world was a delightful read.
This informative and interesting story of Ken Taylor’s life
is highly recommended for readers – young and old.
THE BATTLE AGAINST VON BOREDOM
This new, bright
and colorful animated feature tells the tale of Von Boredom who is turning everyone into his boring one-dimensional, colorless
minions. The Horned Avenger, who has the power to create reality from his creative drawings, has been created to save the
planet from Von Boredom's evil plot. .
When the Horned
Avenger rescues a little girl, the battle of wits and manipulation are joined. Will the Horned Avenger, his sidekick and the
girl be able to outwit Von Boredom and save the world?
I first watched
this with my grandkids: almost two-year-old Tori, almost four-year-old Dane and 5 1/2 year-old Devon. Tori was rather oblivious,
but the boys enjoyed not only the feature, but also the "extras" on the DVD--game, how to draw, other scenes, etc.
A week later,
that was the first DVD they choose to watch when they visited.
Adults may find
the plot simplistic, though there are amusing lines of dialogue thrown out with references only someone older would catch.
Scriptural references are also used, though only one versed in the Bible would realize the origin of the usage.
says from 6-10, but marketing might also aim for a younger audience--or teens who like "camp." (Older teens love Veggie Tales.)
values focusing on using creativity and imagination, THE HORNED AVENGER provides parents an interesting addition to their
collection of acceptable DVDs.
Teenage years are difficult
years even when home is a good place. It is a time when everything is changing, when a teen explores who he/she is and tries
to discover what life is all about—apart from Mom & Dad. This gets more complicated when Mom and/or Dad aren’t
as supportive as they should be.
Still, teens need their dads
and, as the author points out, really need their approval—even while their behavior may scream the opposite. Teens need
affirmation for who they and for who they are becoming. They do not need sarcasm or put downs.
From pg. 45: A Checklist
for “Tell me that you love me”
Remember, “Dad, I love
you” also means “Dad, do you love me?”
Look for small, daily ways
to express love.
Whenever possible give Approval,
He points out, whether parents
want to admit it, teens do watch and they will be influenced by what you say and do. Often as parents we get too busy to really
listen. Our teens know just the right buttons to push and do so. But those times come, and when they do, we must be ready
to listen, affirm and love unconditionally, offering wisdom as needed.
This book opens the door or teens and dads to communicate
on more than a surface level. It helps dads understand what their teen wants them to know—but find difficult to communicate--the
critical need for love and approval. Highly recommend this book for both dads and their teens.
Natalie, who decides never
again to be afraid, finds herself caught up in a flood from the dam that burst flooding the town. But when an unusual boat
turns up just when she’s about ready to give up, Natalie begins a magical journey of compassion and rescue that tries
her faith and teaches her about friendship and hope as well as about fear and love.
A fun journey with
a boat-load of unpredictable, rescued talking critters.
Aiden Thomas hadn’t
wanted to move far away from everything with which he was familiar. He made little effort to get to know his ailing grandfather,
the reason his family moved, and was feeling pretty sorry for himself until the scrolls landed at his feet.
They compounded his strange
dreams and only his grandfather seemed to understand that what he experienced was much more than a fantasy. Even Aiden struggled
with believing until he stepped through the door and found himself in THE REALM, a world as real as his own, but a world in
The one true king has called
him into the world to become the 12th night on a very dangerous mission. But even with accelerated knight’s training,
can the young teen even hope to survive much less make a difference? With two worlds hanging the balance, Aiden must decide
in whom he believes and try to make a difference, even if he dies in the trying.
in a medieval type world, there is lots of fighting, nasty monsters, even death that might be difficult for a younger set.
Nonetheless, though THE DOOR WITHIN is filled with lots of adventure
and difficult tasks, it leaves a positive message of faith and hope with the reader.
A devotion filled with information
on seeing oneself as God sees us and this is not just for youth. We can all benefit from being reminded that God loves us
just the way we are. The book deals with the topics that haunt us as teens: being part of the crowd, being accepted for I
am, dealing with idols in my life, submission and what that really means, reaching out, and lies and love.
The author lays out Satan’s
lies and God’s truth, adding Scripture passages, fill-in blanks and real-life stories from other teens. A leadership
guide is also included in the back.
This would be a good study
not just for Sunday School classes and youth groups, but for mothers and daughters to go through together. A worthwhile devotional
for the young and young at heart.
Innovative Christian Publications:
Baker Trittin Press $9.95
Baker writes in today’s
Standard English without losing the meaning of the original, though he does add explanations to clarify at times.
Line drawings present the
characters of Scripture in an up-to-date mode in shirts and jeans that kids can identify with. Also, because this is just
one book, it is light, thin and not overwhelming for a less-than-enthusiastic reader.
This version of Mark is a great tool to use with Tweens who may
not go near that heavy, dust-covered KJV family Bible.
immediately connects with her female reader through her physical description in her elementary and early years:glasses, braces, and the unnoticed look. Her book, SEEING YOURSELF THROUGH GOD’S EYES: BEAUTIFUL,
is a good fit for teens and women as well, as Thomas identifies with the commonality of a desire to be loved, accepted and
seen as beautiful.
study book, Thomas’s work touches on not only the desire, but the challenges of being recognized as beautiful. Whispers
of unbelief, noise and clutter, the prodigal and older brother syndrome, and other distractions are identified through her
book, which leads the reader into the Biblical reminder that God is enthralled by our beauty and pursues our hearts.
An audio CD accompanies
the book, giving the reader an extra treat as Angela Thomas tells her story and brings laughter and hope to her listeners.
I highly recommend this book for female readers, and especially
for teen study groups or a mixed generational women’s group.
SISTER FREAKS is a compilation
of stories about women, many of them young, some elderly, others could be any one of us, who chose to whole-heartedly follow
Christ. The difference in these stories of women both past and present is their commitment to God. These are not stories of
plaster saints. These are gritty stories of sold-out women, and their stories are not always easy to read. Some grew up in
cultures or homes hostile to Christianity, some did not. Some came to Christ early, some went through years of rebellion and
ignorance and were into everything out there, before finding freedom in Christ and heeding His call.
Some of these women have
given their lives either to share Christ or for just becoming a Christian. Others served faithfully for many years. A constant
thread weaves through the stories, Christ is worth following. Christ brings freedom and hope, forgiveness and peace. Once
these women surrendered, they felt they had no choice but to serve Him with all they had.
The stories are comforting and heart-rending, uplifting even in
tragedy. The stories tear apart our comfortable world, our comfortable faith and lay bare our shallowness as we read what
it really means to follow. This is a book that touches the spirit as well as the heart, giving us the courage to also say,
“I, too, will follow.”
Landon is just
a average boy who likes to know why things happen. His teachers said life just happened, evolving out of slime, but Landon
wonders. When his grampa has an accident that sends him to the hospital in the middle of then night, Landon questions what
life was all about anyway.
Back in his room, Landon
finds himself reading a very special Bible when a door to the unknown beckons and he finds himself sliding into a world where
the rules have changed and nothing is what it appears. Falling into the Book of Meanings takes him on a journey where a chess
piece knight becomes not only his rescuer, but a real horse and companion, where the Odds are out to get him, and where he
finds the answers to his questions.
A book reminiscent of Alice
in Wonderland that will have tweens asking for more. (A sequel is on its way.)
BAD GIRL IN TOWN
Art by Min Kwon; created
by Buzz Dixon; Original character designs by Drigz Abrot
Using the Asian comic manga
approach gaining popularity with teens, Buzz Dixon and Min Kown capture through artwork and dialogue the inspirational Christian
message in SERENITY: NEW BAD GIRL IN TOWN.
A tough and hardened character,
Serenity Harper comes from L.A. to James A. Madison High School, where she tries to fit in, but continues to get into trouble.
Students from a prayer club try to welcome her, but struggle with Serenity’s cockiness and foul manners. To their credit,
they continue to extend their friendship and kindness. The authors show consequences to actions, and a “chapter and
verse” section encouraging scriptural principles lived out in relationships.
We’ve had easy-read
versions of the Bible available for a long time in many different formats. I’ve read many of the versions and found
some better than others in conveying the original intent and meaning of Scripture. These are great to help us understand the
Word, as long as we recognize that these are not translations, but simplified versions geared for different audiences.
This one is geared toward
tweens. Baker has done an admirable job of following original intent, simplifying without “dumbing down” and clarifying
without insulting the intelligence of the reader. Not only did I enjoy reading this version of Matthew, but also found it
gave me a deeper understanding of some passages.
If your tween is not “into”
the Word but likes to read, try handing him this book. It brings Scripture to life and, maybe, it will draw that tween closer
Well done. Can’t wait to read the next in the series.
In true fable-format,
Kevin Scott Collier presents wisdom gained from the animal kingdom. His main character, Esther, a young turtle, travels outside
the safety of her home environment and away from her familiar companions, attempting to “find herself” in the
Along the way
Esther meets a variety of animal characters, each with a different response to her presence, and some with words of wisdom,
including “friendships are built on trust,” and “life without love is to never have lived at all.”
finds her way back home and faces the troubling issues from which she tried to escape, finding healing for her heart.
While the approach
could be challenged theologically (whether or not animals have souls, etc.), the fable proclaims true lessons of wisdom, and
is recommended for young readers.
She’s twelve and nothing, absolutely nothing, is going right for Andrea
who lives with her mother, older sister and brothers on their ranch. For some reason, she can’t focus on anything, especially
When, after she has a close brush with the new stallion, she overhears her
family discussing sending her to live for awhile with her aunt, Andrea feels she has no choice. She runs away taking her best
friend—her mare Taffy.
But Andi has little idea what the real world is like and soon finds herself
over-her-head in trouble. A horse thief, prejudice and more force Andi to rethink running away. Will she let pride stand in
her way or will she let God change her heart before it’s too late for either her or Taffy?
A story that
captures the reader and holds attention until the satisfying conclusion. There is enough action and character development,
with just enough faith, to become a favorite with the tween reader who will all-too-well understand Andi.
Who knew when heaven hooked
up to the internet that a lowly angel would direct an email to the wrong Jordon Mink—a kid, not an older person ready
to die. Who knew that out of the correspondence would come lessons of life, friendship and faith.
If one can get beyond the
whole unbiblical idea of dead people becoming angels, the reader will find a book filled with life, love and humor as well
as a message of kindness and faith.
The plot is straightforward,
the characters likable and the story often tugs at the heartstrings. Teens and adults will find this a good read.
The family has
been going on the same vacation a long as Andy can recall. Yes, he likes fishing and camping, but EVERY YEAR? He did like
hanging out with his computer-wise cousin CJ.
What he doesn't
realize is that his desire to explore with his cousin instead of fishing with his family will lead them into danger in the
Canadian wilderness where he has to make life and death decisions about right and wrong, family and faith.
When things go
wrong, will the boys find the help they need in time?
A mystery with a lesson that
isn't hard to swallow. Never preachy, Anderson takes the reader on a ride that will tempt most "Tweens"-boys and girls--to
get on board and hang on. A fun mystery that upholds family and faith as it draws the reader into the lives of the Wasburn
No one believed Brian that he’d rescued a white wolf when both were very young, not even his
warden father who worked in the Gallatin National Forest near Bozeman, Montana. One friend does believe—an old Indian
living in the forest. As Brain grows so does his friendship with the wise Native American who loves his people, the land and
God and teaches Brian how to respect all three. Even he can’t stop the hunters illegally capturing and killing area
Only, Brian’s white wolf is not a figment of his imagination and when the wolf saves his life,
he tries to convince his family it’s all true. But when the wolf needs his help, will Brian be able to return the favor?
Scott, Benji and Al studied for two years to prepare themselves for the wilderness hike. They even
passed a test on survival and wilderness techniques in order to be accepted. But all it took was fog and a desire to take
a picture that took them off trail and away from the others to get lost. Scott had to use all his hard-won knowledge to keep
himself and his friends safe when they couldn’t find their way and when a bear took after them. It took courage to cross
the dilapidated bridge. But it took the most courage of all when they found a deserted cabin that wasn’t, and men who
were anything but harmless hunters.
Scott must rely not just on his training and wits, but on his faith to get them all out of danger.
But something is going on. Will Scott find the answer before everything hits the fan?
Todd and Amanda visit their uncle’s Wyoming ranch at round-up time. Ranch life is all new to
them, but they’re learning to appreciate the wide-open spaces, getting to know their cousin and riding horses. They
aren’t quite so excited about snakes, especially the human ones rustling cattle.
Is Travis involved in the crime? He seems nice enough, but some of his actions seem very suspicious.
As they move in to capture the thieves, Todd begins to understand God is real, that people can change
and that things aren’t always what they seem.
This is the sort of book you can give Tweens (Not quite teens) and know they’ll
find adventure without gore and a Christian message without preaching.
Follow the lives
of such lights as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Helen Keller from the past as well as today's Michael Jordon, Sammy Sosa
and Heather Whitestone. By determination, hard work, family and/or faith, the 25 individuals profiled rose above hardships
such as poverty, prejudice and/or disabilities to become respected in their fields of endeavor. Many are household names.
to reach their dreams. That they succeeded sends the message, "You can do it, too."
While I may not
have chosen to focus on some of those profiled, this book offers hope to those who may feel their backgrounds or limitations
keeps them from reaching for their dream, keeps them from hope.
is muted, making this appropriate for a public school setting. The focus is on the determination of the individual.
The author includes
a quote from each. Lincoln's quote actually comes from the Bible, which, I thought, should have been noted.
The book is easily
read and suitable for middle elementary on up.
Katie and her youth group want to provide a place for the homeless
near their church, but a wealthy, powerful woman in the church wants nothing to do with "those" people. Katie would also like
to fit in with the popular rich girls. Somehow, the two desires don't mix, especially when money goes missing after a fund
raiser and a missing homeless woman appears to be the culprit.
something is very wrong, and Katie must discover the truth and find her missing friend before the church decides not to open
a homeless shelter after all.
Though this is considered
fiction, it is more like truth wrapped in fiction elements. The story is true and told in a way that draws the reader into
the struggle for freedom, the role of the Underground Railroad and one family on that journey.
The story follows the early
life of a very real historical person, Lowry Rankin, his growth into becoming a part of his parent’s mission to rescue
slaves and send them north. It is a story of incredible courage and endurance, of struggle and conscience.
This is a story, a real story
that we must not forget, told with compassion and a feel for the time and the people. This should be in every school and library.
When Dakota’s dad leaves his mother, sister and him, his anger
explodes against his mother and sister. If only they’d done things differently, maybe his dad wouldn’t have left.
But deep inside, he feels it is his fault for not being the star ball player his father expected. Well, he could remedy that
by working hard to play and win back his father’s approval and his presence in the home. Only it doesn’t work
out that way and Dakota’s anger, hurt and bitterness turns him in a direction that will change his life forever.
The angst of the age and hurt is well portrayed in this easy-to-read
story of characters who find the true meaning of hope.
by MOPS, this book starts from the experience of being a teen mom, adds the experiences of other young moms, and wraps it
all up with lots of encouragement, suggestions and good advice. This book deals with all those things a teenage mom struggles
with when she finds herself pregnant, alone and scared such as Do I matter?, Identity, Growth, Intimacy, How-to's, recreation,
perspective, hope, faith and more.
in a non-judgmental fashion, after-all the author was a teen mom, the book nevertheless points the young mother to the true
foundation for life—Jesus Christ.
a teen mom in your life...or are one? I recommend this book.
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE PRETEEN SOUL
Stories about facing challenges, realizing
dreams and making a difference.
Chicken Soup books are a pretty well
known commodity these days. They are books filled with short, real-life stories geared to particular readers. This one is
no different. Geared for the preteen, it offers a variety of funny, sweet, poignant, even sad stories from and for preteens,
stories that help them feel they are not alone..
Christian parents need to know this
is not specifically geared toward a Christian audience and contains some things that need further discussion. I recommend
parents also read the book. (This is a good idea for any book you might give your child.) The book offers opportunities to
talk about different subjects and helps the preteen to realize others go through similar things.
This particular book is particularly
special because my daughter Cassie--the movie reviewer at AUTHOR'S CHOICE REVIEWS--has a piece BUCKLE UP on page 268.
When Ginger and Irene stay with Ginger’s grandparents one summer
they discover much more than an old house and a dog who likes to get into mischief. They discover a world of history in the
area. Their discoveries bring the Underground Railroad alive for both the girls and the reader.
A warm, fun story that incorporates information on historical and
informational subjects that leaves the reader wanting to learn more. This would make a good book for readers from age seven
or so on up, great for families to read together as well as in classroom settings.
Pre-teen and early teen girls are often overwhelmed with all the questions
and frustrations of growing up. Too many things are happening in their lives to fully process all that’s going on. And
they have so many questions, especially in a culture that often offers more pitfalls than help, and problems than solutions.
Through short stories, this book tries not only to deal with many
of these problems and situations, but also to offer practical help, directing the reader to find answers through faith and
prayer. The book deals with such topics as esteem, trust, loneliness, drugs, divorce, death and God’s love. Have a young
teen looking for answers? This book could make a difference. Makes a nice gift.
Is your teen struggling with how to answer his peers when he tries
to articulate his faith, or just how to live as a Christian? This book takes a down-to-earth approach to telling it like it
is, providing a solid rationale to faith.
The book undermines the stance of so-called tolerance and moral relativism
so popular in today’s culture and shows why they fail to meet a standard of reality or give real meaning to life.
While this book is aimed at teens, any new believer or Christian struggling
against the current of the culture will find the information in this book both relevant and crucial to standing firm for what
matters most—faith in Jesus Christ. Recommended.
New girl in town and she felt invisible until she hooked up with some
freaky church kids who wanted her in their Christian band. But did she want to join when she wasn’t sure anymore what
she believed? And they weren’t the “in” crowd. What does she have to do to “fit” when everything
she tries goes wrong? Does God even care? What happens when her façade of unconcern fails and she must confront her fears…and
I wasn’t sure whether to place this review with non-fiction
or here since this clear, yet informative illustrated book included a scale model of Solomon’s Temple of die-cut cardboard.
This would make a fun project for family night and educational as
well. Never have I had the temple so clearly explained. Constructing the model not only clarifies the beauty, structure and
grandeur of the temple, but also will bring the family together in a fun, learning experience. Very well done.
Another action-packed adventure of the Rhino club members who live on a missionary base in Kenya,
Africa. From accidentally witnessing a frightening blood-oath ceremony to the fast-paced race to rescue their friend from
a kidnapper in the wilds of Africa, Dean and his elementary-age friends are never far from adventure.
This fourth book in the series keeps the reader not only turning pages, but also absorbing principles of God’s
protection, guidance and forgiveness.
While this is geared toward pre-teen boys, the whole family will enjoy sharing
this together. Each of these books gets better than the last. I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Rhinos.
Missionary kids from Kenya, Africa, Dean and his friends have formed a club called the Regendo
Rhinos and they have a chance to camp out on a protected game ranch with their dads. They are looking forward to the time
spent in the wilds until their camp is ransacked and the person in charge of the ranch refuses to help.
But matters grow worse when the boys discover poachers, who manage to kidnap two of them. Will
the Rhinos be able to find a way to put the poachers out of business for good AND save their friends? Will prayer really make
a difference when danger lurks?
This fast-paced novel brings together the elements of a good story and
walking by faith. Another winner in this series.
Written for young people, and especially but not limited to young
women, by a young woman who has seen the world through the eyes of a model in the business. In a culture that worships outward
beauty, Moe steers the reader through the hazards so prevalent in our culture such as peer pressure, drugs, and alcohol consumption,
as well as pursuit of that perfect body. Moe gives down to earth information on life, diet and exercise and how to stay focused.
Each chapter adds questions and usually a short verse that applies
to the subject.
But she doesn’t just give advice. Through personal experiences she
shares her own story and how living a passionate life for Christ makes all the difference to a life filled with meaning and
purpose. Moe challenges the reader to make a difference with choices made and a life lived for Christ.
These are awesome stories of courage, adventure and faith; stories that happened
to average, everyday persons like you and me. These are stories of times God intervened in miraculous ways in the lives of
teens to assist, guide and protect.
The stories show not only God’s love and faithfulness, but also the power
of prayer …sometimes of someone praying halfway around the world.
This book, like most Kingsbury books, should come with a box of tissues. The stories
take you from spine-chilling danger to the depth of love and faith.
If this doesn’t convince someone that God is not only real, but also cares
about the details of our lives, not much else will.
The Haunting Past
is a story for 10-14 year olds written by girls of the same age.
When Melanie and
Karen volunteer to take over yard work during the summer for their brother’s friend, they had no idea it meant working
for the strange recluse who lived in the run down house some called haunted.
But when the girls
swallow their fear and go beyond what is expected, they find something very different from the rumors. Along the way, they
discover appearances can be deceiving and simple kindness can bring rewards for eternity.
A fun read.
DETECTIVE ZACH: MYSTERY OF THUNDER MOUNTAIN
By Jerry D. Thomas
Zach and his friends
find camp more than kitchen duty and games. Things are disappearing from their cabin while they sleep, and that isn’t
the only strange thing going on. Zach and his friends have a chance to show to boys in another cabin that Christianity really
does work…or does it?
The mystery reads
smoothly and keeps the reader turning pages. The Christian teaching unfolds naturally from action within the story. I recommend
this for the older elementary fiction/mystery reader.
More than anything, Libby would like to--officially--belong to her loving foster family,
if only her mother would sign the papers. Libby hopes never to see her abusive mother again, but she does. On a special visit
to her foster grandparents, Libby sees her mother walking down the street. Fear overwhelms her. Will her mother reclaim her?
Libby finds herself threatened and set up for crimes she did not commit. Will Libby's new-found
faith help her out of this desperate situation, and will she be able to reach out to trust...and love again?
Very readable story with a hint of mystery. If your 10-14 year old likes to read, she'll
gobble up this book as well as the rest of this series.
are missionaries to Mozambique, Africa during a time of civil war. This means little to 13-year-old Keri until the village
to which they've brought aid is attacked, and she and her family are carried off along with others unable to escape.
During their exhausting
trek with the bandits, Keri learns about death and life, about forgiveness and God's amazing grace.
While this book
is aimed toward a teen audience, some of the book maybe too intense for younger readers. The story deals with real issues
in a very realistic fashion. I suggest parents and children read this together and discuss the ideas in light of scripture.
The glossary was
helpful, even though most foreign words could be understood in context. A big plus here for the way this was handled.
This book blew
me away. I wasn't expecting such a story with this depth and realism for this age. The book was difficult to put down, and
I recommend this book for adults as well as teens.
For those who
think missionary work easy, this book is an eye opener.
WHISPERS IN WILLIAMSBURG By Wanda Luttrell
This book combines the history of the revolutionary war and the horrors of slavery with enough mystery to satisfy
the 8-12 year old reader.
Sarah is too curious for her own good and stumbles on an organized effort by Patriots to
help free slaves during the revolutionary war. In this book of the series, her new found faith is tested when her Patriot
Uncle is captured and her friend Marcus' wife is claimed by the most brutal of slave masters.
Sarah has to learn trusting
is sometimes more important than action--especially actions without considering the consequences.
The writing is smooth,
the story exiting yet geared appropriately for it's target reader. Sarah is brave and curious, but not foolhardy.
your daughter likes to read, or likes mysteries or history--she'll like this series.
I wish wed had this book when Keith and I were headed
toward marriage. It would have provided some guidelines for what to do between "He may be the one!" and "I do."
sequel to I KISSED DATING GOOD-BYE gives pastors, parents, and couples a definite path to follow. It is not a "How-to" book,
but a book that clarifies what "courtship" is and how a young man and women can keep their focus on the right target--Christ.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and your partner:
1. Is your relationship centered on God and His
2. Are you growing in friendship, communication, fellowship and romance?
3. Are you clear on your biblical
roles as man and woman?
4. Are other people supportive of your relationship?
5. Is sexual desire playing too
big (or too small) a part in your decision?
6. Do you have a track record of solving problems biblically?
Are you heading in the same direction in life?
8. Have you taken into account any cultural differences you have?
Do either of you have complicating entanglements from past marriages or relationships?
10. Do you WANT to marry this
person? (Getting married is a choice.)
Love tends to short circuit our brains, and makes us want to think only the
best, and not deal with potential problems. This book helps clear away the fog.
typical teen Madeline from a typical small town with small town problems gets drawn into her friend Lynette’s seemingly
harmless romance spell, she discovers Lynette’s mother is a genuine witch and that her small town now boasts its own
scary, then dreadful things begin to happen, and when those she’d known for years start acting in very strange ways,
Madeline begins her search for truth. Is evil real? Are there consequences to toying with spells and incantations? Are there
really such things as demons? Madeline finds herself almost alone in her battle not only against evil itself, but also for
the very lives of those she holds most dear.
Peretti here, as in his teen The Veritas Project series. This is late night scary, gore and horror that portrays the depth
of evil and the power and forgiveness of Christ.
things did bother me. Though many of the characters claimed to be Christians, only one stood up with the heroine. Yet, the
Bible tells us we need prayer support. I would have liked to have a small group of those who stayed behind—maybe too
afraid to confront directly—yet who provided prayer support.
would have liked some real changes in the lives of adults—to believe in the reality of Satan and demons. Also, there
seemed to be no residual effects for those who swore allegiance to the Coven and dabbled in witchcraft, then recanted. Satan
doesn’t release his devotees that easily.
Nevertheless, this was an interesting read on a topic that needs more discussion, and, who knows, maybe the author
was setting things up for a sequel.
Teen detectives and
siblings Arthur and Kirsten didn't expect their latest case to be dangerous. In fact, Arthur wasn't looking forward to sifting
through a file of ancient documents trying to discover a clue to the gold found by the forefather of the Montoya family. Though
the Franklin side of that gold prospecting team always took care of the Montoyas, no one ever discovered the truth of what
happened to Montoya's share.
But when the detectives
are followed, when the documents are stolen, the case becomes a whole lot more real. It appears someone will do anything to
keep the truth hidden. Just how devastating is that truth? The detectives may not live to find out.
While aimed at a
teen audience, this has enough action to draw in adults who like a taste of mystery. Plot twists keep you guessing in this
action-packed story. Good book for family of
elementary and up age kids to share together.
In this coming-of-age story,
young Cristina Larson and her family have just moved back to the United States from their missionary home in Brazil. Cristina
has not completely consented to staying in the U.S. for more than one year; therefore she is thoroughly disappointed when
her parents recommend permanently staying in the States.
She has to decide if she
wants to go back to Brazil, which is truly home to her, or stay in Minnesota with her new, albeit more spiritually and culturally
shallow friends, cold climate, and strange American adolescent customs.
In Cristina's new journey
into American high school, she encounters jeers, judgment, and the opposite sex. Along with the negative and confusing times
she encounters, she also discovers new levels of God's love, protection, and faithfulness.
This book accurately explores
the emotions and desires of many teenaged girls, who are struggling to find God's will in their present circumstances. It
is entertaining, inspiring, and encouraging. I would recommend this book to any young woman going through the trails and temptations
of high school life. As a post-high school graduate and mother, I also enjoyed this well-written Hardy book.
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