Redeeming Love

Book Review: Sonja-Liisa, graduate 

francine riversThe definition of redemption is “the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.”  This power of redemption is a key factor that challenges and changes the characters in the book Redeeming Love by Francis Rivers.

In this story, the main character Angel changes from being a very bitter, unloved, and uncared for prostitute to become a caring, loving, teacher and wife—all because of the redeeming power of Christ.

The story of Redeeming Love starts out as a very sad one. Angel is a young women who has been a prostitute her whole life. Her mother died when she was little and, because no one wants her, she is sold as a prostitute. By the time she reaches California at age 18, she has lost all her respect for men and is very bitter. What she doesn’t know is that God is working on a grander picture for her life.

Soon God sends Michael Hosea to her. Michael loves and challenges Angel in a way that no one has ever done before.

Most importantly, Angel learns of Michael’s God.

Angel is badly beaten both emotionally and physically when she marries Michael. However, the longer she lives with Michael, the more Angel begins to heal, and her life begins to fill with joy she’d never felt before. Continue reading

Dear Mr. Knightley

Book Review: Anneke, grade 11

katherine reayIn Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, the lead character, Samantha Moore—known to many as Sam—wants to figure out where she’s going in life but her past keeps dragging her back. Samantha is bitter and angry but hides from this in her books. Dickens, Austen, and Shakespeare are her friends. She has people problems because she enjoys the worlds of Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre better than the real world

One reason she and people do not get along is because she constantly speaks in quotes from novels.

Others dislike this since they know it is not who she really is. Poor Sam has spent years being kicked out of foster homes and orphanages, trying to keep jobs, and struggling to get along with co-workers and roommates.

Sam never shows her real self for fear that she will be hurt once again.

The only time Sam can show who she is at all is in the letters she writes to Mr. Knightley, the anonymous person who funds her schooling.

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The Swiss Family Robinson

Book Review: Ryan, grade 7

swiss family robinsonThe Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss is one of many survival stories, ranging from Island of the Blue Dolphins to Hatchet and more. The Robinson family gets shipwrecked on an uncharted island. The terrain is strange and holds many surprises and challenges the Robinson family to survive.

The Robinson family is very resourceful, but one thing holds them together through this challenging trial.

Their bond as a family helps them to survive.

As the Robinson’s ship is going down, Johann, their father, tells the family that they are going to be okay.

He says that even though they are in a bad predicament, God, the Almighty, will save them and is always watching over them.

Miraculously their ship gets lodged in between some rocks, but the crew leaves before the Robinsons can get on the live boat. Continue reading

Son

Book Review: Bethany, grade 9

son lois lowryThe various settings of Son by Lois Lowry help us understand the characters’ emotions, thoughts, and personalities. This story starts out in the same place as Lois Lowry’s previous novel, The Giver, a strict community deprived of color, weather, relationships, and individuality.

Claire, the protagonist, is a Birthmother. The Birthmothers of the community are not considered special and are even looked down upon—and Claire even more so, since she is a Birthmother who no longer has the ability to give birth. She vaguely remembers having a troubled pregnancy and an emergency surgery.

Much of the memory is erased, but she is left with a strong, unending “wanting” to find her son.

Eventually, Claire finds her son in the Nurturing Center and visits when no one is around. Claire thinks his name is “Abe” and calls him that. Unlike the rest of the community whose emotions are controlled, Claire feels love and wanting for her child. She is heartbroken when told that her son—Baby 36—will be killed due to his immaturity.

Fortunately, Jonas (the hero from The Giver) saves Abe, but now Claire is once again separated from her son. Continue reading

Call of the Wild

Book Review: Katie, grade 9

jack london Every book has characters that change—but most human characters don’t change as drastically as a dog named Buck.

In the beginning of The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Buck is a pampered dog, living the life of doing nothing. He has free range of the judge’s property and a nice warm house to stay in. His life takes a complete turn in the opposite direction when he is stolen and sold to be a sled dog.

Now he has to work hard in the cold and snowy north. He quickly learns to do his job to the best of his abilities with the given conditions.

Early on, Buck would not have been able to pull a sled in the Arctic. The “call” to be wild was what changed Buck and his way of life for the better through an event that most would say was a horrible thing.

Buck finds his true wild self, thanks to being stolen.

“And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down. . . . Thus, as token of what a puppet thing life is the ancient song surged through him and he came into his own again.”

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Out of the Silent Planet

Book Review: Chris, grade 12

Silent PlanetOut of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is a captivating tale. Although it is not a commentary in the literal sense of the word, through the story Lewis is able to share his beliefs and draw many parallels to human struggles. Perhaps the best representation of these ideals is seen in the progression of the story’s main character, Dr. Elwin Ransom.

Ransom’s growth in many ways is symbolic of the human journey.

Ransom begins this story as an everyday, ordinary language professor but is quickly caught up in something completely “out of this world.” He is abducted and imprisoned in a spaceship, which takes him to a faraway land. Though Ransom is imprisoned, he can’t help but look in awe and wonder at the incredible world around him. However, he separates his desire to see new and seemingly wonderful things from his knowledge that the place where he is trapped is only a twisted image of the truth.

Ransom eventually escapes from his prison and makes a long journey through the brand new, incredible world in search of the cosmic entity known as Oyarsa. Throughout Ransom’s journey, he meets many different types of aliens. Some are friendly; others not as friendly; but each of the people that he encounters is greatly impacted by him. Representations of human struggles are present in almost everything that Lewis writes about—from the people Ransom meets to the journey he goes on.

In fact, I believe it would be better to say that this story is not just a parallel of human life, but a parallel of the Christian journey and its struggles.

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The Wedding Dress

Book Review: Morgan, grade 11

wedding dress rachel hauckIn The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck, the main character Charlotte struggles with two main questions: “What is the story behind this antique dress?” and “Will I find true love at last?”

Charlotte Malone lives in a small town named Birmingham and owns a wedding dress shop. Her shop is very successful and gets a lot of customers.

Charlotte, engaged herself, comically enough does not have a dress for her own wedding-–much less know her final thoughts on going through with the wedding to her fiancé Tim Rose.

She does, in fact, love Tim, but is he the one she is meant to spend the rest of her life with?

One of the main conflicts in this novel is Charlotte  finding out if her fiancé should become her husband. About half way through this book, Charlotte and Tim break off their engagement and decide to be “friends.” They know they both haven’t really lost all feeling for each other but decide that they should not go forth with the marriage. Charlotte battles with her feelings for Tim and not wanting to take him back no matter what.

At the beginning of the novel, Charlotte goes to an auction and feels the urge to buy an ugly, welded-shut wooden trunk.

So she does. Continue reading