I read this book first, and it hooked me to read the rest of the series. I've read all of them and really love Melody Carlson's book! I have to say this book is for teenagers though, as some of the stuff in it may not be appropriate for tweens or children. Parents will just have to use their own discretion on that. But, overall, I love Melody Carlson, and I loved this book!
Once upon a time I was VERY lonely. I had no friends and no sisters and no anything. It wasn't because I was a total outcast or loser. I was too shy and when I did have friends I would kind of avoid them. I didn't even want to talk to my popular friends! Even when I did I had this emptiness inside of me. No poem or short story I wrote could ever explain what I was feeling.
Just like Kara. Which was why I bought I book. I read it and bawled at the end. Then I gave my life to Jesus. And I planned to live happily ever after...and never EVER be lonely again...
This is the first Melody Carlson book I read. I've since read several of her books. I loved this book. The main message that Jesus is the best, best friend you can ever have came through loud and clear. I finished it in less than 3days but it felt like an eternity because it felt like I was taking the emotional roller costar with Kara. That is Carlson's gift, to completely transport you to wherever the character is. Love Love Love Melody Carlson!!!
Carlson has a gift for writing from the perspective of a teenage girl. The first-person narrative immediately draws the reader into the world of Kara Hendricks and her tenth-grade public school drama. The majority of modern teens have experienced the kind of loneliness, detachment from parents, and friendship struggles depicted here. Carlson draws the reader through the ups and downs of Kara's thoughts and conversations which lead her eventually to invite Jesus into her life as her best friend. The presence of the Holy Spirit is clear as Kara's attitude changes and, as a result, her relationships in positive ways. The testimony of a geeky kid who has a difficult life impacts kids beyond Kara.
Although Carlson brings a positive ending to Kara's struggles, I would recommend this book with caution. The gospel - as far as man's sin and Christ's redemption - is never clearly stated. Carlson focuses on the friendship of Jesus, a point with which her character struggles. Additionally, the book is straight-forward and realistic, mentioning suicide, drugs, smoking, and drunkenness. Carlson does not write swear words, though she indicates when characters use them. The realism of this novel from the perspective of an unsaved contemporary American teenager might give parents pause. Is it appropriate for your child to be exposed to these thoughts and issues if they don't struggle with them? On the other hand, if your daughter is drawn to modern teen lit found at the local library, by all means supplant those books with anything by Melody Carlson. The feel of the writing and the issues covered are similar, but the author's perspective is God-honoring.