Friday, May 15, 2015

The Choosing - Rachelle Dekker

The ChoosingPublisher:        Tyndale House Publishers

Market:            Christian

Genre:             YA, Fiction, Dystopian

Length:            464 pages

Pub. Date:       May 19, 2015


Description (from Amazon):

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—would end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. The whispers contradict everything she’s been told; yet they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, but she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.


My Review:

I received this book as an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I have been reading Ted Dekker’s books for years and have read most of them.  They are intriguing.  So when I came across a book written by his daughter on Edelweiss, I knew I wanted to read it.  Regardless of what it was about, I wanted to see how her writing compared to her father’s.  

While there were some similarities between the two, Rachelle shows in this book that she is more than capable of standing on her own and writing a story worth reading.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the story telling, character development, and overall message targeting her Young Adult audience.

The book jumps right into the action of a Choosing Ceremony.  While it was puzzling to jump right into the middle of a scene and a character’s thoughts, it certainly made me want to keep reading.  I wanted to follow Carrington as she is questioning all that is occurring as well; I was putting the pieces together to understand what was happening.  This book was definitely a page turner from start to finish.

I will say the text was full of typos, and that is probably the main negative I have to say about the book.  However, since I was reading an ARC, I imagine those have all been fixed in the final copy.  Additionally, the story was so engaging that I was able to overlook the annoyances, even as a former English teacher.  That is rare for me.

The story is very smooth flowing between dialogue, character interaction, character introspection, and description.  I would say the only thing that broke the flow was when the first few chapters each ended with retellings of the society’s history.  While this was necessary for an understanding of the story world, it was jarring at times.  I was glad when those history lessons dropped off early in the book.

Carrington was a very dynamic character.  She has a very visceral struggle between all she’s been taught to believe as truth versus what her heart tells her truth really is.  What is her worth?  Where does her value come from?  How do you navigate what your life is to be?  What do you do when you work so hard but don’t get the results you expect? 

Her challenges were portrayed in a very realistic way.  The other characters were equally as realistic and their motivations as believable.  I could feel Carrington’s father’s emotion for her and her pain.  I understood Larkin’s feelings of loneliness at her ostracism.  The whole set up of The Authority and its cast system was troubling to its very core.  The growing feelings between various characters (including Carrington’s own conflicting emotions) were handled in a manner appropriate to the intended audience and in a true-life manner.  All of it together drew me in to the story world and kept me captured. 

While I did find parts of the story line predictable, like the mystery behind the murdered Lint girls and the budding romance, that didn’t detract from the overall story for me nor did the predictability detract from the well-developed characters and plot.  The much needed message of value and worth just because of whom we are and WHOSE we are (children of God) more than compensated for the predictability. 

Scriptures are quoted throughout the book.  At times, members of The Authority twisted them for self-serving purposes or to justify actions.  This showed that if you don’t know the Word for yourself you can be easily led away from the truth by those in leadership. 

There is some violence in the book.  It is not gratuitous in any way. 

I look forward to having both my tween and teen daughters read it and discussing the book with them.  I think the book definitely reaches its target audience of young adult girls and can be an opening to important conversations.

I did feel the book wrapped up too quickly.  It left several threads loose.  I am hoping there will be a second book to carry on the characters and their story.

Pros:  an important message packaged in a story that is intriguing and focused; kept me up late nights turning pages

Cons:  I want a sequel  J

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars (near perfect)

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