Positives: A great storyline and wonderful characters will make this book very appealing to its target audience. Pre-teen girls will identify with Sadie and the many challenges she faces. I enjoyed the honest and realistic storyline.
Negatives: In the description of the book we are told that Sadie must learn to have faith even when she doesn't have all the answers. This is not portrayed in the book at all, Sadie does not learn to have faith in God. She certainly has questions about prayer and about God, but she never receives truthful answers to these questions. When she attends Youth Group with her friend Ruth she asks questions and she is never given the gospel, in fact no one mentions Jesus in the entire book. At the end of the book, after she has run out of her home she finds refuge in a Catholic church where she spends the night. While there she tries praying is overcome with a warm feeling and knows that she must tell the truth. I'm guessing this is what the author refers to as her "faith." Based on the story, Sadie does not have a saving faith.
Talking Points: As I believe young girls will like this book it, it presents a perfect opportunity to introduce or hopefully, reinforce the basic truths of the gospel. Start with understanding that God, the Creator is holy (Is. 6:1-3, Rev. 4:8, Matt. 5:48) and we (man) are utterly sinful (Eph. 2:1-3, Rom. 3:23, Rom. 3:10-18, Rom. 5:12). Because of our sin we are separated from God and there is a penalty that must be paid for our sin (Rom. 6:23, I Cor. 6:9-11, Rev. 20:14-15, II Thess. 1:5-9). Since we are dead and incapable of doing anything about our sin problem, God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ to this earth to live a perfect, sinless life (Is. 7:14, Matt. 1:23, John 1:1-5, Phil. 2:5-11). Christ shed his blood and died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin (Is. 53, Heb. 9:22, Matt. 27:33-54, Mark 15: 22-39, John 19:16-42, II Cor. 5:21) and rose again on the 3rd day to show He had once and for all defeated sin and death (Matt. 28:1-15, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20:1-18, I Cor. 15). Because of all that Christ has done on our behalf we are given the gift of faith through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9, John 20:30-31, Acts 4:12). It is essential that our children understand the true gospel laid out for us so clearly in Scripture. Do not them be mislead to think that faith is a "warm feeling" they may experience when they decide to do something right. Jesus says in John 14:6 - "I am THE Way and THE Truth and THE Life, no one comes to the Father except through me." Carefully and prayerfully share the gospel with them every opportunity you get! There are many other conversations you can have from this story also, ask your child what they thought or learned about in the book.
Age Level: Girls 10-14 years of age
I received a free copy of this book from Zonderkidz in exchange for this review.