Saturday, March 20, 2010
Title: Chop, Chop
Author: L.N. Cronk
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Christian Realistic Fiction
# Of pages: 191
Publisher: Rivulet Publishing
Year of Release: 2008
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 3 (4-6 coming soon)
Rating: 4 (View Scale)
Description: From book cover: Ever since Laci was a little girl she's been growing out her pretty, brown hair and chopping it off to send to Locks of Love. When Greg moves into town and finds out what she's doing, he thinks it's a great idea...so he starts doing it too! It's just one of the things that reserved, young David must tolerate as their friendship grows throughout the years. As they near adulthood, they grow not only closer to each other, but closer to God as well. David finds himself content in every way, but when tragedy occurs David must struggle to find his way back to God.
Review: From the first sentence, I was drawn into the plot. “He’s going to be the youngest person executed in our state since the death penalty was instated in 1975.” I was excited to see where the author was going to take the characters. She begins in childhood of three Christian teenagers, David, Laci and Greg, and progresses to the present, their high school years. From a life-changing mission trip to a teenage tragedy, the obstacles the teens face are very relevant and real-to-life. It was as if any Christian teen could have had the same experiences. Then, she brings you to one tragic event that rocks the teens’ faith. The only downsides are I would have liked a few more twists and turns to the author’s straight-forward story-telling approach, and I felt she could have delved a bit deeper into David’s (our storyteller) mind once the tragedy occurred. Overall, I was pleased with the story and the messages presented and would recommend the book.
Rating: 4 for violence
Positive: The main focus of the book is the teens’ Christian walk with God. We see them making good and not so good decisions along the way, but ultimately they strive to live Christ-centered lives. I like to see books exploring pertinent topics in teen’s lives and showing how even though bad things happen and you might turn away from God, He, “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV) never turns away from you. He can help you come through anything if you give Him allowance to do so. All you have to do is ask. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24 NKJV)
Spiritual Elements: Most of the characters are Christians. Greg’s dad becomes the new youth minister at Laci and David’s church. Many of the scenes take place during their youth group trips, one of which is a mission trip to Mexico. Both David and Laci walk away from the trip changed for the better. As the book progresses, we see how each of their faiths grow and change through many obstacles. The Bible is referenced on several occasions.
Violence: The book begins with Laci and David waiting in the car with their Sunday School teacher to attend an execution of a young man. The book deals with a heavy topic (Spoiler): the shooting of two people and the repercussions pertaining to the crime. But, the issue was written tastefully and without much gory detail.
Language: Cr*p is used a couple of times. The expression, “O_ M_ G__” is used about four times, most of which takes place in one conversation between David and the girl he likes. She uses the exclamation often and he requests that she stop doing it because it takes the Lord’s name in vain.
Sexual Content: Nothing other than a kiss.
Recommendation: I feel this book is a timely read particularly since we see a lot of teenage crime presented in the media. I especially liked how the author explains that the exclamation “O_ M_G__,” used often as an accepted way of taking the Lord’s name in vain, is in fact wrong. Also, many teens will be able to relate to the characters’ lives and will walk away with many godly truths. I would recommend the book for ages 12 and up.