Several of the reviewers have commented that they're of a similar age and type of Mayla and could really relate. I'm on the other end...over 50, and never tried anything near as extreme as Mayla did. But the book touched me just as deeply. It was so refreshing to see a book with such depth, clarity of emotions, believable characters (on both sides of the religious fence) and unusual plot. Nothing about this book was typical, nothing was predictable. So many life lessons are shared, and thought provoking scenes are depicted, you can't read this book and come away without reevaluating your own possible prejudices. I'd highly recommend this to adults and teens alike...rebellious or committed...non-Christian or Christian. It's a must read, a fun read, and a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
What a great read! I read this book in less than a day. It catches you from the "get-go". It really stirs your heart to "reach out". the characters are very believable and thought provoking. Great fiction with a realistic feel. Wonderful!!!
I started backward, and read the sequel first, but enjoyed it so well that I was excited to go back to read this one. I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have read a book that made me cry, but this one definitely was successful with that more than once. This is such a great story!I've enjoyed Ginny Smith's books for a while now, but this just makes me like her all the more. As a 23 year old, former punk/goth teenager, I can tell you from experience that her books with Mayla hit home. The sequel was good with certain topics, but this one is just fabulous.Mayla's story is really that of an alternative young person finding Christ and starting their life as a Christian. Not everyone has the same background and this book is great for all people whether they were brought up in the Church or know nothing about it.I'd recommend this book to teens, young adults, older adults (to understand the younger) and anyone really. I strongly recommend it for people to read who are not Christian. It might show a good insight to how things "can" be.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Mayla was such a refreshing, realistic character. I could really relate to her. She's my age, going through the same problems that I am. I loved the fact that she had piercings and dyed hair. Just by that alone I could relate to her because I used to have piercings in not typical places. This book showed how you really shouldn't judge people just by their appearances. Mayla had to face a lot of prejudice by the older Christians just because of how she looked. To me, if I had become a new Christian and keep facing this type of attitude, I would become very discouraged and eventually lose my faith. Mayla on the other hand, turns the other cheek and does not allow this to hinder her new thirst for more knowledge of Christ's love. The same can also be said of the non Christian who assumes about what Mayla will become now that she's become a Christian. Mayla's roommate judges her totally unfairly because of a bad experience. The treatment she receives from both sides is enough to make anyone go crazy but she handles it with such maturity and grace. The storyline involving Alex and his battle with AIDS was extremely well done. Virginia Smith is an excellent writer and this book really showcases her work. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book to find out what happens between Maya and Pastor Paul!
A Breath of Fresh Air!Just As I Am by Virginia Smith is one of most honest and refreshing books to come along in years. Mayla Strong, the main character, is so real and yet so unique that readers of any age, gender, or walk of life readily identify and begin to root for her from the moment she appears on the opening page. Add to that an irresistible sense of humor and a taste of the South thats as delicious and down-home as grits and gravy, and you have a book that will keep you coming back for more. So bring on the sequel!