- Author: Joan Embola
- Publisher: Love Qualified Press
- On-Sale Date: Sept. 10th, 2021
- Tag line: “Is God sovereignover triumph and tragedy?”
- Series: Sovereign Love, Book 1
- Synopsis: Despite growing up in a family of faith, Teeyana Sparks has her doubts about God. That’s why she has big goals for college, where she’s going to prove that hard work is all she needs to get to where she wants to go, in life. Her plan starts falling apart when she meets Jayden, a young man who has experienced Jesus’s healing power.
- Click the icon below to listen to the Spotify playlist I made for the book (mostly songs listed, with two related ones I added)
Although this is very clearly a Christian book, I feel that the subject matter would be EXCELLENT for non-Christians as well, since Teeyana spends a lot of time grappling with doubt.
While the synopsis probably wouldn’t attract a non-Christian reader, I think the plot itself may not be off-putting. And, I feel this book is a great evangelistic tool. This is a book I want lots of teen girls to read.
What I Liked:
*End of Post.*
Just Kidding. But in all seriousness, I really appreciate this book because so much of it is EXACTLY what I want to see in a book.
- In grappling with questions of Gods sovereignty, I found this book to be so truthful and encouraging!
- Family Dynamics
- Awhile back, I mentioned that something I see in Christian books (even books that are commendable in many ways) is negative portrayals of family dynamics— namely, disrespectful teenagers.
- With the exception of disagreeing with her parents’ faith, Teeyana tends to demonstrate respect.
- Additionally, it is SO REFRESHING to read about Teeyana’s family. They are people of faith who turn their troubles over to the Lord, and they love each other! This is a beautiful depiction of family.
- I think Teeyana’s best friend, Amara, may be my favorite book best friend. She is an absolute sweetheart with a lot of spunk. But what sets her apart from other fictional friends is that she boldly and actively points Teeyana to Christ. I feel like it’s often the other way around in books, with main characters being the ones to encourage their struggling friends.
- I’m also very pleased to see that Amara is the main character of book two.
- Faith and relationship with God is integral to the plot. While some Christian books seem to include faith as an afterthought, there would be no story if the faith was removed.
- There are multiple Scripture references throughout, as well as hymn lyrics. The theme of the book, God’s Sovereignty, is very Scriptural.
- The romance is NOT the most important part of the story, which is something that I really look for in a Christian book. The characters’ relationships with Christ is clearly shown to be the most important.
- The romance is also what would be considered “clean,” and the characters are looking to the Lord in their relationship.
- Mental Health
- This is honestly not my favorite topic to read about, but I do think it’s an important topic to discuss. Even more importantly, I appreciate that this is not being treated as something apart from Jesus. It is very clear that He triumphs even over struggles with depression and anxiety. Amen!
The book of Job plays a large role in the plot, and there are several Job verses included, throughout the book. Another verse that came to my mind while reading, due to the title is this one:
“She gave this name to the Lordwho spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”Job 16:13 (NIV)
Invitation to Jesus ❤️
Joan Embola provides an author’s note at the end of the novel, which includes an invitation to surrender to Jesus.
Reading this portion brought tears to my eyes. This wasn’t your basic half-hour sermon followed by an altar call. I feel that the story really established credibility in its presentation of the Gospel, and I’m excited for readers to read this!
There are also discussion questions included 🙂
Something I really appreciate is that the author includes a note at the beginning of the text, explaining that the book includes discussion of possible triggering content, such as depression and suicide. She suggests that, if this material may be triggering, she recommends praying before reading. She also adds that the point of the book is not to “plunge readers into darkness, but to point them to the light and hope we have in our Lord and Saviour—Jesus Christ.”
I am grateful for the author’s conscientiousness and respect for her readers, and I also feel that she truly does point readers to Jesus. I found this book to be very encouraging.
The topics in the book are not “triggers” for me, specifically. However, I do not usually choose books with this subject matter, and I was a little bit concerned that it would be hard for me to read. With that said, I feel that the content was handled very tastefully. There were no graphic/ descriptive parts and no romanticizing of self harm. Overall, I would say the triggers were more references, as opposed to scenes.
There were a number of uses of the Lord’s name that I interpreted as exclamatory, rather than prayers.
There was one drinking scene, but it was not promoting drinking.
This is a book I would definitely recommend. It puts Jesus first, emphasizes purity, and overflows with truth and encouragement. It actually reminds me of both Christy Miller and Princess Cut, which I recently cited as examples of Christian romance that I can recommend.
For me, it was so refreshing to encounter a Christian romance that does keep Christ at the center, as this is, unfortunately, not something I see all the time.
I would also say that, for fans of Christy Miller, I would highly recommend this book, since it reminds me of Christy Miller more than anything else I’ve read. At the same time, it brings something new with its discussion of mental health.
As mentioned, this is the kind of book I would want to get into the hands of lots of teen readers!