Book Review: Sand Castle Dreams by Taylor Bennet

Usually, when it comes time for a sequel, I prepare myself to be disappointed. I find that sequels can never quite live up to their predecessors. But in Sand Castle Dreams, I happily found a sequel that is just as good as its predecessor. Keep on reading to learn more! =)

My Rating: Four and a Half Slices of Key Lime Pie out of Five

About the Book…

Sometimes we have to face our greatest fears in order to become whole again.

Returning to Maui after one of the most challenging summers of her life, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is ready for things to return to normal—or, at least, a new normal. But even though she and her sister are back on the island they love, nothing is the same since they left for Boston a few months ago. Olive’s friend Jazz is hiding a secret—possibly something even worse than the cancer diagnosis she received earlier in the year. Can Olive ever stop running from memories of all they’ve lost?

When their friend Brander suggests Jazz attends the church’s teen support group, Olive thinks it’s a great idea—until Jazz insists that Olive join her. While the group is the perfect place for Olive to share her struggles, she wants nothing to do with it. Instead, grief threatens to roll over her like the ocean waves, and tiny fibs turn into looming secrets. When a scruffy puppy and one viral video send another storm rolling into Olive’s life, she ends up face-to-face with her biggest fear. And the only way to make it out of the tempest is to go straight through.

Buy Sand Castle Dreams on Amazon ~ View Sand Castle Dreams on Goodreads

What I Loved….

I loved the way that friendships were portrayed. Brander, Jazz, and Olive are such a great friend group! I wish that YA fiction had more friend groups like them. Too often YA books focus on romance. Which brings me to my next point…

The “romance” going on didn’t take over the story. The focus of the story wasn’t on the romance, and the subtle romance didn’t take over the story as it does in so many books. I loved this because being teenager is about so much more than dating and breakups.

The character arcs were phenomenal. It was exciting to be able to see how Olive and the other characters grew and progressed from Porch Swing Girl.

All of the desserts that Olive’s grandmother made!!! Um, yes, this is a total highlight. Can Olive’s grandmother just cook for me? Yes? Perfect! And you can actually have some of her cooking by making the recipe in the back of the book! Don’t you love it when there are recipes in the back of books?

The themes and messages packed into this book were a big highlight for me. From dealing with grief to authenticity to saying goodbye to helping friends, the themes, examples, and messages in Sand Castle Dreams are sure to uplift, encourage, and inspire readers, as well as bring them closer to God.

The setting of Lahaina, Hawaii, was so well written. I felt like I was in Hawaii eating shave ice and walking along the ocean with Olive and company. I really, really want to go to Hawaii now…

“It’s okay to cry, sweetie. It only means you have a heart so full it doesn’t have room for tears.”

-Sand Castle Dreams by Taylor Bennet

What I Didn’t Love…

Olive slightly annoyed me sometimes. She seemed a bit whiny at times, in my opinion. A bit whiny and moody, but she made up for it in the end. =) 

It felt a bit preachy at times. Olive’s friends and grandmother seemed to “preach” a bit to Olive. I feel like themes and messages could have been delivered better in different ways and been just as, if not even more, effective.

Conclusion…

Sand Castle Dreams is the epitome of a good summer read. It’s got a summery setting. It has a great group of friends. And, most importantly, there’s a lot of dessert. 😉 I’d highly recommend this to anyone who loves YA Christian fiction or a good contemporary story.

About the Author…

Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of contemporary YA fiction. Homeschooled since kindergarten, she is a proud homebody who suffers from the rare–yet always severe–case of wanderlust. 

Although she dreams of traveling to many different places, her favorite destination thus far (aside from her charming hometown in Oregon) is Lahaina, Hawaii. Taylor was so enamored with this tropical town that she became determined to write about it, hence her debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, the first in a series of books set in Hawaii.

A lover of literature since birth, Taylor found her love of writing fueled under the instruction of Andrew Pudewa and the other teachers at the Institute for Excellence in Writing, where she now works as an editor for their magazine.

When she isn’t writing, Taylor enjoys cooking, drawing, and taking long walks in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest

Visit Taylor’s Website ~ Find Taylor on Instagram

Note: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you read Sand Castle Dreams? What would you do on a trip to Hawaii?

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BOOK REVIEW: The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson sat on my TBR for much, much too long. Once I received it from my grandparents for my birthday, I was so excited to start reading. And once I started reading, I couldn’t put this book down!

My Rating: Four and a Half Imaginary Friends out of Five

About the Book

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

Find The Girl Who Could See on Goodreads ~ Buy The Girl Who Could See on Amazon

What I Loved

The whole concept of this book is brilliant. Imaginary friends, other worlds, Los Angeles, the FBI… Kara Swanson blended all of this and so much more into one fantastic story that had me daydreaming about Fern, Tristan, and their world for a long time. And speaking of Fern and Tristan…

The characters of this book are unforgettable. I’m sure that I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Characters can either make or break a book for me. Fern, Tristan, and the rest of the cast of characters MADE this book for me. They’re so real and perfect and precious. I loved them all!

“If I’m not broken, then what am I?”

Tristan’s voice softens. “You’re the only one on this planet who is truly whole.”

-The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

The adventure the story takes you on is one that you won’t want to walk away from. The plot of the story, combined with the characters, suck you into another world, or shall I say, Fern’s world. It was SO HARD for me to put this book down. So hard that I didn’t. 😉

The ending of The Girl Who Could See is perfection. But to find out just how perfect it is, you have to read it. So what are you doing? Go grab a copy!

The cover of this book…. THERE ARE NO WORDS.

What I Didn’t Love

I wish that it could’ve been longer. The Girl Who Could See is perfect in its novella-sized package, but I can’t help but wish that it could’ve been a little longer. I would’ve loved to see more of the amazing characters and their stories!

Overall

The Girl Who Could See captivates both the imagination and the emotions. This book is a real treat not just for fantasy and sci-fi fans, but for all bookworms who love a good story and a good adventure.

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent her childhood in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate to characters dropped into a unique new world, she fell in love with the fantasy genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. She received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Kara loves to hang out with other book nerds and chocolate enthusiasts on Instagram (@karaswansonauthor), Twitter (@kara_author), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author) and on her website (karaswanson.com).

Have you read The Girl Who Could See? Did you ever have an imaginary friend?

Want To Read More?

7 Books About Military Kids

April is the month of the military child! It is during this month that we recognize the sacrifices that military children make through many moves, deployments, and uncertainties. But with all of those sacrifices comes pride, community, and adventure. I, myself, am a military child and am proud to have been one for many years.

There’s nothing quite like finding a book with characters that one can relate to. As C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we are not alone.” Unfortunately, there are not many books with military children, or even simply children with loved ones in the military, as the main characters. That’s why I have created a list of some of these books. It is my hope that some military children will be able to find a book with a character that they can relate to so that they may know that they are not alone.

For Children’s Book Readers

Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut

“Back and forth our star will fly, racing through the nighttime sky.”

Night Catch is a sweet story that tells how a nightly game of “catch” using the North Star brings together a deployed father and his young son. Told in catchy rhymes and beautifully illustrated by Vicki Wehrman, Night Catch is a great book for kids who have a parent who is deployed.

Click Here to Buy Night Catch on Amazon

Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Jill Biden

“Be brave, Natalie.”

Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by former Second Lady Jill Biden is a tale inspired by her granddaughter’s life, Natalie. It’s a touching tale that very accurately describes what life is like when a parent is deployed. Many military children and families will be able to relate to Natalie and her family.

Click Here to Buy Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops on Amazon

For Middle Grade Readers

The Molly Series by Valerie Tripp

“Everything was different now because of the war. Dad was gone and Mom was busy.”

These American Girl books are books that I cherished and enjoyed as a young girl. Molly may have lived during WWII, but the experience of having a parent away at war has remained the same through the years. The illustrations and history tidbits that are included in these books are wonderful!

Click Here to Buy the First Book in Molly’s Series on Amazon

Army Brats by Daphne Benedis-Grab

“Maybe being brave wasn’t the most important thing anyway.”

Army Brats is part mystery and part coming-of-age story. Set on a military base, there are puppies, mysteries, and lots of fun. My sister Maya read it and loved it! Don’t worry, I plan on reading Army Brats soon too. 😉

Click Here to Buy Army Brats on Amazon

For Young Adult Readers

Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

“People are the only home the Army issues.”

Once I had this book in my hands, I couldn’t put it down. I felt that I found a kindred spirit in the main character of Beneath Wandering Stars, one who understands what a life of changes and goodbyes feels like. I have never found that in any other book. You can tell that the author herself was a military child. And to add to that, there’s an exciting adventure on the Camino do Santiago that has me itching to visit Europe ASAP. A full review will come soon!

Click Here to Buy Beneath Wandering Stars on Amazon

“Dear Jamie, Love Rory” by Micaiah Saldaña

“Today is your birthday, and you’re not home.”

This is my own little story, a story that was partly inspired by my own experiences with my Dad’s deployments. The story is told as a series of letters from Rory to her older brother, who is deployed in Afghanistan. Through this story, I wanted to portray some of the pain that comes from a deployment and how letters keep loved ones connected.

Click Here to Buy “Dear Jamie, Love Rory” on One Story’s Website

“For Felicity” by Audrey Caylin

“I’ll be leaving on deployment when the leaves are almost gone.”

“For Felicity” is a story by my friend Audrey Caylin. It tells the story of a girl named Felicity and her brother Stephen, who is about to deploy. Felicity’s tale may be short, but it is packed with emotion and has the most perfect ending ever.

Click Here to Buy “For Felicity” on Amazon

Have you read any of these books? Do you know of any books featuring military kids?

BOOK REVIEW: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews is a lot like bittersweet chocolate. There is bitterness at parts that will break your heart, but there is also sweetness at every other part of this page-turning debut novel.

My Rating: Four Perfect Notes out of Five

About the Book

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Find A Thousand Perfect Notes on Goodreads ~ Buy A Thousand Perfect Notes on Amazon

What I Loved

August, Beck, and Joey are characters that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading. Characters are what make or break a story for me. In this book, the characters MADE the story. Seriously. Beck, August, and Joey could’ve sat around eating cake and I would have still loved this book.

CAKE CAKE CAKE. How could one not love a book with plenty of cake in it?

The simple moments in this story became rich and beautiful. I love when contemporary authors make real life magical. C.G. Drews did just that. Moments such as playing at an old playground and eating cake became whimsical and sad all at once.

“You are worth more than a thousand perfect notes.”

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

August didn’t fix Beck. Too often in fiction, and especially in romance, one character “fixes” the other. This is not the case in A Thousand Perfect Notes. August is always there for Beck, always offering hope and healing. She was there for him and she supported him no matter what.

The musical aspects of the story. If you know me, you know that I am not at all a musical person. I couldn’t sing or play an instrument to save my life. But I do love to listen to music. The music in A Thousand Perfect Notes leaps off the pages and into your ears and soul. I loved that Beck loved to compose music and how music practically flowed through his veins. And it was classical music. I for one enjoy listening to classical music (Handel and Mozart are two of my favorite composers). It was refreshing to find a teenager in fiction who does as well!

What I Didn’t Love

There was a smattering of foul language. Call me a grandma, but I’m not a fan of language in fiction. I feel like it takes more away from the story than it does add to it. The language in this book was mostly in German, but there were some other instances that were in English.

Content Warning: Beck suffers a lot of different kinds of abuse, including physical and mental abuse, at the hands of the Maestro, which is a big part of the story. The author gets into quite a bit of detail about the abuse. Some of the characters mention violence or are violent as well. And there is the bit of language that I mentioned above.

Overall

A Thousand Perfect Notes is a book that at times is hard to read because of the abuse Beck suffers, but it is also a book that is hard to put down because of the hope, healing, and love that he finds in a girl named August. For all of you who love vivid and fun characters, Beethoven, cake, and bittersweet stories–this book is most definitely for you.

About the Author

C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her piano and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novels to make you laugh or cry (or both). She never sleeps and believes in cake for breakfast. She blogs at paperfury.com. Find her on Instagram @paperfury.

Have you read A Thousand Perfect Notes? What’s your favorite song?

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BOOK REVIEW: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker is a book that you simply can’t put down once you pick it up. The charming characters, 1960s Georgia setting, and peach pies will have you glued to this book from beginning to end. Read on for my thoughts on Chasing Jupiter.

My Rating: Four Peach Pies out of Five

About the Book

Scarlett Blaine’s life in 1960s Georgia isn’t always easy, especially given her parents’ financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli’s hippie lifestyle. Then there’s Scarlett’s brother, Cliff. While she loves him more than anything, there’s no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be.

Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer’s son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett’s view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she’s lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother’s dream.

Find Chasing Jupiter on Goodreads ~ Buy Chasing Jupiter on Amazon

What I Loved

The characters were absolutely wonderful. I think that they could’ve all sat around eating peach pie and this book would be just as good. Grandpop Barley, Cliff, Scarlett, Frank…. All of them were sweet and eccentric in their own way.

The setting was perfect for the story. I just wanted to get lost in 1960s Georgia with Frank, Scarlett, and Cliff. Rachel Coker made the setting very real and very vivid. I could almost imagine that I was in Georgia myself!

“You can stay perched in your bird cage forever. Or you can fly.”

Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

The story made me smile multiple times. Who couldn’t smile when Cliff writes a sign in Spanish or argues with Grandpop Barley? And who couldn’t smile at such tender moments as the ones with Frank in the peach orchard?

God’s love and grace were evident on the pages. I loved that God’s love and grace changed Scarlett’s life and the lives of those around her. The author showed this beautifully in Chasing Jupiter.

Who couldn’t love all of the peach pies? You had better have a peach pie nearby as you read this book, or you will get very hungry. Trust me on this one, okay? 😉

What I Didn’t Love

I felt like everything was wrapped up a bit too quickly. One moment there was a disaster, and then in the next twenty or so pages, everything was resolved. I wish that there had been more pages dedicated to the resolution and falling action of the novel.

The story wandered into preachy territory at times. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like the author could’ve brought the themes across in a more subtle, meaningful way.

Overall

Chasing Jupiter is the perfect summer read. If you love endearing characters, historical fiction, peach pies, and rockets to Jupiter, then this book is most definitely for you.

About the Author

Rachel Coker resides in Virginia with her parents and two sisters. She has a passion for great books, and has been surrounded by them all her life. Her gift for writing became apparent at the age of eleven, at which time her parents signed her up for a year of lessons with a professional writing coach. Rachel also has a deep love for classical music and old black-and-white movies. When she is not writing or playing the piano, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends and serving her Lord and Savior.

Have you read Chasing Jupiter? If you could fly to any planet, what planet would you fly to?

My Favorite Books of 2018

I’m way late in joining the bandwagon on posting my favorite books of 2018, but all that matters is that I’m here, right? =) I’m so excited to be sharing this list with you! Here are, in no particular order, my ten favorite books of 2018.

1. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

“We were together and for that moment, it was enough.” In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

In 27 Days was a great story with a great message and memorable characters and settings that had me hooked from the first chapter. If I remember correctly, I finished this book in only two days. I wanted to hug and chat with every character and visit Mama Rosa’s and… I could go on, but since you all don’t want to sit here reading this for twenty seven days, I’ll leave it at this: In 27 Days is pure gold. GO READ IT. Click here to find it on Goodreads, and click here to read my full review.

2. Unblemished by Sara Ella

“Because you’re beginning to see with more than your eyes. You’re seeing with your heart.”Unblemished by Sara Ella

First of all, the cover is gorgeous. Second of all, the characters make this story (especially KY). Third of all, why are you still reading this post and not this book? Click here to find this book on Goodreads, and click here to read my full review.

3. The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

“In this year of contrast, stark, heartbreaking contrast–life and death–God had brought color too. He had brought me a palette full of color to last my whole life long.”The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

If you throw together 1960s Atlanta, Georgia, gorgeous pieces of art, characters you’ll want to pull from the pages and hug, and one big mystery, you’ll have The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser sitting prettily in your hands. This book was SO good that I found myself wishing that I could go to Atlanta and pondering the story late into the night. Click here to find The Swan House on Goodreads.

4. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

“The still, quiet voice beckoned tenderly. Come to me, beloved. Stand and come to me. Warmth swept over her. This was the love she’d been waiting for all her life.”Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Y’all. This book… I don’t know where to begin. There are tear-stains on the pages of this book. And there’s a reason why. This story, based on the story of Hosea and Gomer, is a story about God’s never-ending, forgiving, never stopping, redeeming, always and forever love for us, no matter what we’ve done. Click here to find it on Goodreads.

5. Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber

“He barely spoke for the rest of the night, even when he flew her home. Just inhaled the gift she’d deposited, in the raw spaces she’d excavated. The gift of believing he was someone more.” Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber

Set in a dystopian universe that is at times wildly fantastical and at time eerily like today’s world, Reclaiming Shilo Snow was a book that I simply couldn’t put down. This is a book that is worth staying up until 1:00 A.M. reading. It’s got diverse characters, lots of action, and edge-of-your-seat moments that will keep you glued to the pages. Underneath it all is another story of real people who are imprisoned and trafficked as modern-day slaves. It’ll break your heart, give you hope, and inspire you to do something for our broken world. Click here to see Reclaiming Shilo Snow on Goodreads.

6. While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

“May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” -Genesis 31:49 NIV

Perhaps the thing that made me love this book so much is Penny Goodrich. I saw myself in Penny as she tried to please others and tried so hard to stay “safe.” Yet Penny discovered that “safe” isn’t always truly living, and pleasing others is only a recipe for disaster. That message spoke to me deeply. The author also did a great job of portraying the pain of having a loved one far away. And the ending… One of the best endings ever! Find While We’re Far Apart on Goodreads by clicking here.

7. Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis Majors

“I am just an ordinary person. An ordinary person serving an extraordinary God.” -Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis Majors

About four years ago, I went to Uganda with Sixty Feet. And I fell in love with Uganda and its red dirt and smiling children. Kisses From Katie is a story about a girl named Katie Davis Majors who fell in love with Uganda. It’s a the story of how her love for Jesus led her to move to Uganda to serve him, and eventually of how she became the mother of thirteen little girls and the founder of Amazima. If you read this book, you will forever be changed. Click here to view this book on Goodreads.

8. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

“I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious preparation for the work he will give us to do.”The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Touching. Heartbreaking. Convicting. This isn’t just a story about a woman who lived an amazing life for Christ. This is a story about a woman who lived an amazing life for Christ that invites you into a greater story, a story of radical love, courage. and forgiveness that can only be made possible by Jesus. Corrie ten Boom has and always will be a woman that inspires me and encourages me in my walk with Christ. Click here to find The Hiding Place on Goodreads.

9. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

“All she could do was smile. It seemed all right, for he was doing the same.” The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

How can I describe this book… This story transported me to the world of a 19th century circus, broke my heart, had me in tears, and then somehow put me back together again. Joanne Bischof’s writing is so heartfelt, and her books are so hard to put down. Ella Beckley and Charlie Lionheart’s tale will forever be one of my favorites. ❤ Find The Lady and the Lionheart on Goodreads by clicking here.

10. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November…”Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

So many of the books I’ve listed are books that I couldn’t put down. This book is definitely among them. I LOVED Emma and Thomas so much. Emma is the definition of what a strong woman character should be. ❤ The magic system and fictional setting are well crafted that I felt like I was there, inside the book. And the twists, oh the twists… Find Fawkes on Goodreads here. And read it as soon as possible!

What was one of YOUR favorite books of 2018?

This Changes Everything By Jaquelle Crowe Book Review

As an avid reader of The Rebelution, I’ve heard so many good things about This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe. Once I found it at a Christian bookstore, I couldn’t help but buy it straight away. Here are my thoughts on this impressive little book!

My Rating: Four Shining Stars

Back Cover Blurb…

Image result for This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years

The teen years have been hijacked—by fashion, music, movies, and games; by the pressures of school, peers, and society; and by superficial expectations set by the world. But there is something more glorious than all these influences that has the power to change the life of a teenager: the gospel.

Written by a teenager for teenagers, This Changes Everything is a deeply theological yet practical and accessible book on how the gospel radically transforms every aspect of the teen years, including pursuing relationships, managing time, combating personal sin, and cultivating healthy habits. In a culture awash with low expectations for young people, this book exhorts teenagers to embrace a gospel-centered perspective on their lives and pursue wholehearted devotion to Christ now.

Buy This Changes Everything on Amazon ~ View This Changes Everything on Goodreads

What I Loved…

The challenge it presented the reader. It simply can’t be possible for one to read this book and not be challenged in some way. Each chapter led to deep questions and a hard look at one’s life. The Gospel really does change everything. The question this book asks is will you let it change you? 

The points Jaquelle touched on. Jaquelle touched on eight major areas of our lives that the Gospel changes: our lives, stories, communities, sin, disciplines, growth, time, and relationships. I’m so glad that all of these had a chapter to themselves. My favorite chapters were the ones on time and disciplines, although all of them were top notch!

The writing style. Jaquelle’s writing style made this book easy to read. The stories, examples, and lists that she provided made everything easy to understand and remember. It wasn’t like reading one big sermon–it was more like reading a letter from a friend. A letter with really good advice, that is!

What I Didn’t Love…

Where was baptism? I believe that baptism is a very important part of the Gospel. I was shocked to not find it in this book! I can’t recall a time when Jaquelle talked about baptism’s significance, or what it had to do with the Gospel message. In the Gospels themselves, we see Jesus get baptized (Mark 1:9-11) by John the Baptist. Jesus commissioned His disciples to not only make disciples, but to baptize those disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). In Acts 2:38 (emphasis mine), after Pentecost, Peter tells people to,” Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

I could go on with examples, but the point I want to make is this: All over the rest of the New Testament, all over the Gospels, there is baptism. Within the Gospel message that the Apostles delivered, there is baptism. Obviously, baptism is integral to the Gospel message and important to Jesus. Therefore, baptism should be important to us.

Overall…

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to all of my fellow teens. It’s not just a book that one can label as “read” and walk away from. It’s a book that challenges you to live all out for Jesus, because the Gospel changes everything. Now that’s a book that we all, teen or not, desperately need today.

About The Author…

Jaquelle Crowe

Jaquelle Crowe (BA, Thomas Edison State University) is a young writer from eastern Canada. She’s the lead writer and editor-in-chief of TheRebelution.com and a contributor to the Gospel Coalition, desiringGod.org, and Unlocking the Bible. Her first book is This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years.

Jaquelle’s Website ~ FaceBook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram

Have you read This Changes Everything? What is one of the most challenging books you’ve read?