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5 Stars Out Of 5
December 26, 2008
Melody Carlsons Beyond Reach, the second book in The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series, is just as enthralling as book one. Carlson uses real life teen topics, tons of suspense, and faith in God to spin an engaging, cant-put-it-down book. Samantha McGregor, the girl with a God-given gift of prophecy, is at it again. Or maybe not. After trying to make sense of her visions to save her friend Kayla (in book one), plus her visions about a terrorist attack, Sam is ready for a break from the prophecies. She complains to God, saying she wants a little hiatus, and the visions stop, just like she wanted.The only problem is, now Detective Ebony Hamilton needs her help with a cold case. Samantha doesnt know what to do. The dreams and visions have been gone for weeks. How can she possibly help? Has God taken away her gift for good? When Sams gift finally returns, she has a vision of a brown-haired boy jumping off a bridge to his death. Who is the boy? Does it have to do with the old suicide case Ebony is looking into? Samantha worries about every brunet guy she encountersif only she knew who was going to jump off that bridge. With the unknown guy just out of reach, Samantha puts her trust in God, praying that he will show her who it isbefore its too late. Highly recommended.
This is another superior novel from Melody Carlson. The book starts off with an action packed scene in a airplane involving terrorists and it doesn't stop there. Suicide is a topic that no one likes to talk about but that teens face everyday. The topic of the violence in video games was very much appreciated. I cannot understand how parents knowingly allow their kids to get games with so much killing and gore in it. I felt for Garrett and the situation with his father. I shudder to think how many people are in his situation due to verbal abusive from family members. The characters in this series are really realistic and likable. I like the subplots involving Olivia and her quest to get into the band. Samantha again shows how mature of a teenager she is especially involving situations with her mother and brother. Most people would end up suffering from being in a dysfunctional family. This is one of the best teen fiction books out there, serious with hard hitting issues yet entertaining at the same time. Melody Carlson has really outdone herself.
Beyond Reach is a multi-faceted novel of intrigue, suspense, and mystery, but it is also a story about the value of true friendship and unconditional love. The heroine genuinely cared about the hurting people in this story and it clearly made a difference in their lives. She set aside her own fears and concerns for the benefit of others. That is what true Christian faith is all about, and the author does a fabulous job showing that Christ-like love can literally save someone from total destruction.This story inspired me because the characters were very three dimensional and interesting. There was nothing sappy about this story. In fact, Beyond Reach is superior to many YA novels on the market because while the subject matter is depressing, in this story there are vivid scenes that offer hope, and Samantha is such a wonderful role model for youth. I highly recommend this book!
In Oregon, seventeen years old Samantha MacGregor has a gift from God that enables her to see dreams of the problems confronting other people. She has used her ability to help police officer Ebony Hamilton, but after a harrowing case in Arizona involving the missing rule breaker Kayla Henderson ((see BAD CONNECTION) she comes home tired and asks God for a timeout.A few days later Ebony asks Samantha to assist her with a cold case involving a teen Peter Clark shot in the head after leaving a suicide note. His mom believes a homicide occurred after her sons girlfriend Faith Mitchell got in touch with her insisting that Peter would never kill himself. As Samantha tries to help, she realizes she has stopped dreaming for a couple of weeks. That scares her because she believes that God listened to her and took away his gift. She finally envisions her chemistry lab partner Garrett Pierson jumping off a bridge and as to the Clark case she believes the younger brother knows what happened.BEYOND REACH, book two of the Samantha MacGregor Secret Life tales, is an entertaining teen inspirational investigative thriller starring a heroine struggling with acceptance of Gods special gift to her though her faith is strong. Samantha holds the story line together as she tries to use her gift to help others especially her police pal. The cold case will fascinate the audience as Samanthas ability seems gone at first as God heard her prayer for a time out, but how long will that last frightens the courageous teen as she learns to honor what was given to her. The support cast adds mostly to the thriller elements as fans will enjoy Samanthas efforts to do the right thing while trying not to burn out as she is a young human with quite a responsibility.Harriet Klausner