Author: Varian Johnson
Published: March 2010 by Delcorte Books
Source: Personal Copy
Description: Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing. Until Maddie comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, cusses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home. As time goes on, Josh goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Josh further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church?
I Give This ...
I have a feeling people may shy away from this book just because of the religious aspect. Which is really unfortunate because I thought it was really awesome! Yes it has a lot of religion in it, but I think it is so much more than that.
I think my biggest surprise (which I should have realized from the description) is that it's told from Josh's point of view. It so rare that the guy in the story is the "good" character. And Josh is way more than good, for a teen he's dang near saintly. Josh's issue is that he's never stopped to think for himself. He's grow up with God in the house and from a very young age has had the bible and it's message pounded into his brain. It's amazing to watch him start to realize that not everything needs to be taken at face value. I think it's appropriate for a teen to question their own religious beliefs. They spend so many years thinking how their parents think, it's only natural for them to realize they have a mind of their own. It's not a bad things either.
I liked Maddie as well. She has deep seeded reasons for being troubled. And I was expecting her to be much worse than she actually was (or maybe the author made her seem more tame). I liked that she made Josh question everything. She wasn't trying to get him to go against his beliefs. She just wanted to make sure he knew what HE actually believed in. I think if the story had an epilogue we would have learned she came back to the church. She didn't need saved, she needed to come to terms with what had been done to her (both by others and herself). I was floored by the way her father treated her (and her mother allowed it).
So, if you can handle the religious aspect of this book, I would highly recommend it!