I had read one other book by Kenneally and enjoyed it but picked this one up at the library on a whim. This book is for mature teens as it does explore the issues of pre-marital relations, abortion, abuse and under aged drinking. However, I really think this book would be a good book for older Christian teens to read and talk about afterwards. Although it is a secular book, it makes you think about real life issues in the light of following Christ.
Kate Kelly is headed to college in the fall but she and her best friend Emily agreed to be counselors at their Christian camp during the summer. Emily makes some bad choices that force Kate to help her out against her own convictions and force Emily to take another job. Kate is lonely as their friendship has disintegrated. She is struggling with guilt and remorse. She is looking for a sign from God when she meets Matt who turns out to be the boy she kissed at age eleven — the only boy she has ever kissed or been on any kind of date. Matt is already in college and a member of a fraternity. Although he is nice and very attractive now, Kate wonders how his college lifestyle matches her own faith. Kate also wonders what to make of these Christian counselors who act so unChristian with their behavior – drinking, sleeping together, lying and partying. And should she become involved with Matt who seems to seeing living a Christian life that is so different from her own way of living.
I really liked seeing Kate’s struggle to define who she is as a follower of Christ. She really struggles with the tenets of the faith that she has been taught and the behavior she sees around herself — including her own. Others see her as judgmental and she has a hard time understanding their point of view. As Kate comes to terms with her own hormones, her heart and her faith, we see her growing into a mature young woman who still holds firm to her faith. I really liked her character and the way Kenneally portrayed her struggles and what many Christian teens face at her age.
What did this book have to do with my faith? Where is the fine line between following the commandments of God and living in the real world? In other words, how do we live faithfully to God yet be in relationship with others? To me, this is a challenge that lasts way beyond our teenage years. We must constantly struggle to find that balance. What I liked about Kate is that she took the time to really find where she stood. She picked the convictions that were really right for her to keep while letting go of many that were preventing her from being in relationship with others like Matt and Emily. Jesus was always trying to get the religious leaders of his day to see beyond rules to relationships. That is what Kate begins to see. And that is what we all must see as well, I believe.
I highly recommend this book but it may not be for all readers.