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Age Appropriate For: 10 and up (for brief mention of drug dealing)
Best for Ages: 10 and up
Description: What if your new stepdad was a Bible-toting Army Sergeant? Fifteen-year-old Jessie Rivera is living every teenager’s nightmare. Her widowed mom has married a man who wears his heavy Christian values like his sergeant’s stripes – on both sleeves. Glenn Sparrow is persistent, immovable, and not afraid to be firm. Worse than that, he’s loving, kind – even fun – and he has Chris, Moe, and Katie completely won over. But Jessie is determined that she won’t be won over, or give up her “freedom” without a fight. She knows what she wants, and it isn’t what they’ve got. Or is it?
Even before I picked up this book, I was impressed with the author. You can get a free copy of his book on his website, no strings attached. That right there showed me that his goal was to bring glory to God, not to make money. The book confirmed that first impression in the best possible way.
Jason is a very talented writer. Although my values are more like Mr. Sparrow (the Sergeant), I found myself understanding Jessie. She and her siblings were well developed. As she struggled to understand and accept the changes around her, I felt her pain even though I knew those changes would be for her good.
I loved the plot of this story. A family transformed by the love of a stepdad and God was heartwarming. Sometimes, living in a Christian home, I need to be reminded of how different my life would be without faith. Without getting into anything objectionable, this book reminded me of the transforming power of the love of God.
A couple of times the book felt a little preachy or a situation felt set up to teach a lesson. However, most of the messages, including the salvation messages didn’t feel that way. They were just woven into the story very well.
This book would be a great family read aloud. I do suggest parents of young children read ahead to the end because as there is mention of a bad guy who is pretty mean and is doing some illegal things. It does not go into any detail, but parents need to be aware. I found it not in the least disturbing and wouldn’t mind handing the book even to a younger child.
I highly recommend this book to new Christians, families going through major changes, or those who want a wonderfully written reminder of why we chose the path of faith.