I was pleasantly surprised at the many deep spiritual themes in this book. The most compelling had to do with the consequences of festering anger and unforgiveness. It truly made Katy difficult, unattractive, and I daresay, downright ugly at times. In contrast, forgiveness and grace changed her countenance as well. The ordinary becomes beautiful when gratitude and grace result in living at peace with men.
The story did a great job at illustrating how the outside of the cup can be clean (I found it ironic that Katy was a cleaning lady,) but the inside can still be full of dead man's bones. And while the heroine was a Christian and did sincerely love God, she'd let the structure and boundaries of her Mennonite faith determine how she lived her life rather than reflecting God's love onto others. In short, the symbol became more important than the meaning behind it.
But I loved how Katy often softened around Jake, and how she wanted to forgive him, but that stinkin' pride kept getting in the way. But when they kissed, wow! Sparks flew and the room got a bit warmer. I have to say I loved that this wasn't a one kiss at the end type story. That gets bonus points from me. There was realistic tension, desire, and passion between them that made for some great scenes.
Jake was the consummate hero. There was nothing not to love about him. I was actually glad at one point when he said he was tired of the fighting and maybe it wasn't meant to be. Good for him. I was getting ticked at Katy and her back and forth emotions myself, all of which were propelled by anger. That is such the antithesis to Christ's love, whether the anger is deserved or not. I loved how God used the foolish things to confound the wise, in other words, how God used the person that Katy believed was so worldly that she couldn't be a good person, to show her how to be honest with herself and others. I loved that!
Katy Yoder is 19 and doesn't date anyone because of the heartbreak she experienced with Jake Byler joined the Englisch world, meeting worldly girls and doing things she doesn't approve of. Their last time together, Jake was drunk and pushed himself on her, so she has hated his since. But she still just can't get over him enough to date anyone else. But what a surprise she gets when Jake shows back up in town, and it seems like everywhere she goes, he is there. Not only that, everything she is involved in, Jake is involved in it too. She just can't shake loose of him. All she was interested in now was moving in with her childhood friends for a while.
Jake Byler's life changed while he was away and he wants to come back to the church and try to win his only love Katy back. But this will be a challenge because of her hatred and bitterness over him leaving her.
I enjoyed this Mennonite story as I met Katy and her best friends Megan and Lil, and was in on the excitement of their moving in with each other. The author created a cast of characters that played their parts so well in the story and it was fun getting to know them, even though at times some of them were irritating.
The main character Katy sometimes acted like goodie-two-shoes because she was always judging others. And Lil really got on my nerves when she was trying to nose into Katy's life, pushing her to go back with Jake. I wanted to scream at her sometimes and tell her to tend to her own business. At first I didn't like Jake, but as I got to know him, I really liked him because he was real. He had accepted the Lord and his life had definitely changed for the better. And David, well I couldn't figure out if he really liked Katy or he was just being a jerk because Katy's dad kinda forced her to go on three dates with David. And then he was so jealous of Jake, but that could have just been a male thing, right? I was proud of Jake for finally speaking up to Katy about her attitude, she really had that coming.
Over all this was an enjoyable read and I hope there is a second book to follow these characters further in their lives. Though I do think this could be a YA book too, it just seems like something younger people would enjoy reading. Which is a good thing, we need more YA books! I encourage you to grab a copy of this book, read and enjoy it. You will not be disappointed.