Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Best Friend (Life at Kingston High Bk 2)

Reviewed by Shawna
Title: Best Friend, The (Life at Kingston High)
Author: Melody Carlson
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Christian Chick Lit
# Of pages: 215
Publisher: Revell
Year of Release: 2012
Part of a Series? Yes, 2 of 3 Life at Kingston High)
Rating: 4 (View Scale)
Recommend? Yes
Read the review of The Jerk Magnet (Bk 1)

Description: After losing her best friend, Janelle, to the fabulously-styled Chelsea, Lishia is on the lookout to fill the vacant friendship. When she spots the once-popular Riley on the outskirts of the cafeteria, Lishia pounces at the opportunity to befriend her despite Riley’s not-so-spotless reputation as a mean girl. Unbeknownst to Lishia, Riley has some plans of her own that include using Lishia to exact revenge. Will Lishia take the bait and risk losing her good girl reputation or will she spot the truth before the damage has been done?

Review:  The Best Friend, sequel to The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson, is as fun and timely as the first. Lishia Vance, minor character in The Jerk Magnet, has taken center stage as the irked ex-best friend of Janelle who dropped her for the gorgeous Chelsea in book one. At least that is how Lishia sees it. Lishia, feeling alone, decides to befriend a not-so-nice girl and thus begins her downfall. Carlson, with her real-to-life scenarios, shows how even the good, Christian girl can slowly walk away from God and into a huge mess.

Rating: 4 for some mature themes

Positive: Lishia and her mom have a very open relationship. Her mom is very supportive and is always willing to listen. She encourages Lishia to pray about her choices. Even though Lishia has not been very kind to some of her old friends, they step up and help Lishia when she asks. One friend, Megan, encourages her to return to youth group and to do the right thing concerning her friendship with Riley. She offers Lishia sound Christian advice.

Spiritual Elements: Lishia and most of her friends are Christians. Lishia starts out trying to be a better Christian by memorizing the “fruits of the Spirit.” She admits she does not truly understand them. But once she becomes closer friends with Riley, she starts making choices she would not have otherwise made. She feels convicted several times but does not act on those convictions right away. She feels distant from God and considers that maybe she has lost her faith and that God does not want to “talk” to her anymore. {Slight Spoiler Alert}However, God reveals Himself to her through her reading the Bible, and she begins making amends with those she has hurt or betrayed even though it is very difficult for her.

Violence: none

Language: none

Sexual Content: The more Lishia hangs out with Riley, the more she begins to act uncharacteristically of herself. She attends un-chaperoned parties where she kisses someone she hardly knows and pretends to drink an alcoholic beverage in order to gain his attention. Once he’s interested, she goes with him to his parent’s bedroom, but they are interrupted before anything happens.

Other: Riley is only concerned about herself and uses Lishia to take revenge on another cheerleader. At first, Lishia is hesitant but is so desperate to be accepted by Riley that she goes along with her plans.

Recommendation: I highly recommend the book for ages 12 and up. Below are some great points to think about and discuss after reading the book. One of the benefits of a Christian life is having the Holy Spirit as a guide (because the Spirit helps us, Romans 8:26). However, it is up to each Christian to decide whether she listens to this guidance or not as is in the case of Lishia. Several times, Lishia feels convicted about her choices but decides to ignore these thoughts and entertain sinful ideas until she does not feel convicted anymore. She rationalizes these erroneous choices and blocks out thoughts of what her mother would think about the situations.

The Bible explains how sin is a process that begins in our hearts. Mark 7: 21 says, For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come…” Then it goes on to name specific sins such as deceit, envy, and slander, all of which Lishia went on to do.

The Bible also says,When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15

However, God promises that when we are tempted to sin, He will always provide a way out. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 Look for that way out!

Even after sin, God can still pull us back into a close relationship with Him through repentance. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

The Bible also warns of choosing friends wisely. The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26

This does not mean Christians cannot be friends with those who do not share their faith. But, if a Christian’s closest friends do not share the same values, then those friends are living by the flesh and are controlled by their sinful nature, not the Spirit as Christians are (Romans 8:5-9). Thus, like in Lishia’s case, it can equal to being led into sin.