Monthly Archives: June 2012

Book Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Cannonball Read IV #13

Again. Out of order.

If there’s anything that I love, it’s a good mystery. The first “adult” books I read were Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries, and I love that the writing world is now writing books targeted for the kind of teenager I was. It’s clear from April Henry’s The Night She Disappeared that this is a book of suspense and mystery. Mysterious title? Check. Mysterious cover art? Check.

Kayla goes missing from work one night. She leaves to deliver a pizza and doesn’t return. What’s even weirder is that someone called and asked if the girl who drove the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie drives that Mini and is chilled when she finds out the question that was asked. Together, she and another coworker, Drew, work to find out where Kayla is, if she is dead as everyone hopes, and to save herself from being the victim of another kidnapping.

This was a really good book. It was a fast read, told in chapters that alternated between character POVs. (I’m not always a huge fan of that, and I think it only worked moderately well for this novel — a single POV would have been better). The story progressed quickly, and the characters were all likeable enough. Gabie was a little too sheltered for my liking, and at times I found both her and her parents to be very unrealistic characters. I really liked Drew. What I liked the least was the ending. It came together too fast and too easily. I wish that it had been more developed and that the resolution of what happened to Kayla and been less rushed in those final pages.

While I think this book falls more into the average category, I think it’s a worthy read for young adults who like mysteries. It’s not a graphic book, it has no references to vampires or other weird sci-fi things, and it’s not overly sexual.

I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.


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Book Review: Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal by Michael Kelley

Cannonball Read IV #12

I am going so out of order on this one, but I want to get this review posted before I forget this book.

Okay. So Michael Kelley’s life was going pretty well. Wife, awesome little boy, another kiddo on the way. And then, in an instant, it changed. His 2-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer.

Nothing to shake you up like a cancer diagnosis.In a child.

Sometimes I can’t read books like his because I think of my sister, who’s eight, and all I can manage to process is that I am so thankful she is a happy, healthy kid. But it could be taken away in a second. Books like this are hard for me because of that very reason. I don’t want to think about it, and I don’t want to think about what my reaction would be as I struggled through that bleakness. I’d like to think I’d be the most faithful servant of Jesus ever, but you never know until it’s you walking through that mire. Michael Kelley didn’t know until he knew.

That’s the heart of this book. Once Kelley knew “the other side,” he didn’t quit being authentic. He didn’t only tell people he was great. He didn’t blindly follow Jesus without bringing his own pain and suffering to the cross. What he did was lay his soul bare in these pages and told readers, “I was here. It was hard. I struggled. But God’s truth is still the truth, even when Satan makes it feel like it’s all lies.” Better yet, Kelley doesn’t just say that. He shows readers, countless times in the scriptures, where what God promises He will stay with us.

I’m not a parent, and I’ve never loved a child with a serious, life-threatening illness. But I have been in the valley before. I have struggled and questioned God and been filled with anger and hurt. You don’t have to parent a sick child to understand Kelley’s own hurts, and that’s what I appreciate the most. Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal will be a soul-filling book that reminds parents of Jesus’ truth, but it’s also a soul-filling book for anyone who has ever been in a place of doubt or has ever asked the question, “Why, God?” Nothing can soothe you except God when you’re in that place, and this is a book that gently reminds you that He is there with you right through all of the hurt.

For the record: I totally bought the book after I read it on my ereader. It’s that moving and powerful. I don’t usually do that!

Also, this is totally not related to this book, exactly, but I have to commend B&H Publishing for the quality of the Christian books it publishes. I have ready some seriously poorly written, cheesy-as-they-come Christian non-fiction, but B&H has always impressed me with the caliber of their published content! Kuddos!

I received this e-galley from NetGalley in return for an honest review!

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