Thursday, May 28, 2015

ARC Review: Devoted

22718682Title: Devoted
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Goodreads | Amazon 
Source: eARC from Macmillan 
Goodreads | Amazon
A godly girl keeps a cheerful countenance.
A godly girl never tempts a boy.
A godly girl always keeps sweet.

Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy.

But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from. What is she to make of the boy recently returned from camp Journey of Faith with newfound piety? Or of her mother’s miscarriage and resulting depression? And how should she respond to Lauren, the girl who left the church several years ago and who has recently returned to town?

Rachel knows she should find solace in her beliefs, but she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.

  My Review

It's only been a few short months since I've read Mathieu's stunning debut, The Truth About Alice, but I can tell you that the synopsis for this book, Devoted, is what really pushed me to read Alice. I don't know why - because I'm not a fan of books about religion - I had to read this book, but I did. I am one hundred percent glad that I read it because it's eye-opening and beautifully troubling. 

Upon meeting Rachel Walker, I just knew I was going to like her. There was just something about her easy-going disposition that drew me in, and then I got to know her and realize that she's not a simple character. She's a complex character, but for reasons that are beyond her control. What I really liked about her was her determination. She's going to be a character that will serve as a role models for the teens who will read this book because she's determined to change her own life, even if it means hurting the people she loves and the people who are trying to help her. She's independent, but not too fiercely independent, and I think kids, especially the shy ones, will really be able to relate to her.

Ms. Mathieu's writing is wonderful in this book because she really lets her characters tell the story. It's beautiful because she doesn't try hard to make the words pop. They just flow from one word to the next, one paragraph to the next, and one chapter to the next. I felt like I was watching everything develop on screen as it was happening because it's just detailed enough to really provide the backdrop and the actions of the characters.

Another thing that I loved about this book was the lack of romance. It's hard to find that in contemporary YA these days.  While Mathieu touches on first crushes and secondary characters' love lives, she really lets the familial and friendships shine. It's a breath of fresh air, and if you're looking for a contemporary sans romance, reach for this book.

Honestly, I'd recommend this book to everyone who reads YA. I'm sure it will be challenged, but hey... good books are often challenged because they make people think. And trust me, you're really going to think about this one. It really helps readers see that sometimes what people perceive as good can really be a terrible situation, and this book will let readers see that and help them to form their own opinions.

Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu is an English teacher, writer, wife, and mom who writes books for and about young adults. Her debut novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, was published by Roaring Brook Press on June 3, and her second book, DEVOTED, will be out June 2, 2015.

Her favorite things include chocolate, pepperoni pizza, and this super hilarious 1980s sitcom about four retired women called The Golden Girls. She can basically quote every episode. 

Jennifer lives with her husband, son, one rescue dog, one fat cat, and another cat that is even fatter than the fat cat.

When it comes to what she reads, Jennifer loves realistic young adult fiction, creative nonfiction, super scandalous tell-all memoirs and unauthorized biographies, and basically anything that hooks her on the first page.

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  1. Kayla @ The Thousand LivesMay 29, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    I guess I'm still leery of this one because all the YA books that DO include Christianity always have the MC walk away from their faith. Which, I get it, that happens, but for once I'd like to see a character who isn't "the sheltered, basic goody two shoes" and who also happens to be a Christian. I have very little faith in that ending with YA lit as it is today, so I just stay away from these books D:

    But I'm really happy that it worked out for you, and Rachel sounds like she'd be an amazing character!

  2. I haven't read very many YA books about Christianity/Christians, but this one, and Immaculate aren't really like that. It's kind of good in a way because it shows that even thought you might have a new outlook on life, you still believe in some of the fundamentals. That's what I got out of Rachel's leaving. She explores new options, but even returns to church, albeit a new church.

    I will say she is sheltered, but it's more like she's sheltered because she's being raised to only be a good wife, mother, and daughter of God. (It really reminded me of that reality family in hot water right now. I just don't want to use their name and it end up in the searches. lol)

  3. <----doing a little dance
    I am so glad that you loved this. This is one of my most anticipated summer reads. Thank you for reviewing it.

  4. It's very, very good, Suzi! I was a bit nervous, but it really surprised me. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. :)

  5. I don't know whether I'll read this, as I myself am currently going though a little inner conflict when it comes to religion and faith, but still, I am intrigued by the concept of this book!
    Beautiful review Erin!

  6. I completely understand that, Mishma. I've been going through that my entire life, and I still don't know where I stand.

    Thank you! :)


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