I’m officially part of BookLook Bloggers, and I’ve finally had a chance to finish the book they sent me a while ago. (I promise I read it all guys! Things have just been really stupid crazy over here.) From what I gather, I think most (if not all) of the books are part of HarperCollins’s Christian publishing brand. Which completely makes sense if you start reading the titles they have.
I will be completely honest with you. I HATE Christian fiction. I mean, there are some quality books out there, sure, but about 98% of the time the books are stupid, have bad writing, faulty plot lines, and are in general just bad bad bad. But I didn’t know that’s what these books were. I thought I had picked a non-Christian book. But I didn’t. I picked Stranger Things by Erin Healy.
I won’t go as far as saying that Erin Healy redeemed the entire Christian-fiction genre. But I will whole-heartedly admit that this book superseded my expectations and made me think that there could be hope for the genre after all.
Okay, without further ado, my review.
In a nutshell, the book is about human trafficking. Which caught me off guard, because who writes a book about that? I mean, who writes a book about human trafficking that doesn’t come off as sordid or seedy? Erin Healy does. And she does it very well, I might add.
Serena Diaz is a high school Biology teacher who is accused of molesting one of her students, Brock Anderson. Her parents have run a safe house for trafficked girls for about 30 years, so it’s sort of ironic that she would be accused of doing the opposite of what they’re trying to end. She is also accused of being involved in the human trafficking movement by the Fire Followers, an organization whose entire intent is to rescue trafficked girls. She has no idea that when she enters the school building one morning that her entire life is going to change in an instant. (I tried to find a less cliched way of saying that, but I couldn’t.)
What I hate about the book is that Healy uses about 50 different viewpoints to tell the story. (Not really. More like 8.) So it’s really hard to set it down and pick up a few days later, because you have to remember who’s telling the story and what time frame they’re in at the moment. I also hate the weight that a plot like this one has, because it doesn’t make for an easy read. The plot moves quickly, there’s a lot of suspense, but when you’re reading about something so heavy you just need to get a break from it sometimes.
That being said, with all the things this book juggles–intricate plotlines, numerous viewpoints, a huge cast of characters–Healy handles it all with finesse. Not once does she drop the ball or forget a detail and it doesn’t end so suddenly you can’t figure out how we got there. The plot line continually moves along and pushes forward to an very non-contrite ending. Albeit a predictably happy one. (Happy in the sense that everyone is fine, although there are definitely life issues everyone needs to work out.)
I’d probably gives this three gold stars, a thumbs up, and five smiley faces. And a wish that this would someday be a movie (because I think Hollywood would actually do good with this one).
And I liked it enough that I’d like to give you my copy for you to read! All you need to do to enter this mini-giveaway is one (or both!) of two things:
1. Share this review on Facebook or Instagram
2. Comment below with your favorite Christian fiction book.
I’ll pick a winner next Tuesday and send the book to your mailbox.