|New Book: Convicted|
|Written by Rachel Whitaker, Associate Editor|
"Look at you!" the guy with the braid finally said. "You're just a little kid! What are you in for, stealing candy bars?"
The rest of the guys laughed, and Andrew shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his chains clanking in his lap.
"You gotta be, what, 130 pounds soaking wet? How old are you, anyway?"
"Sixteen," Andrew said, staring at the floor.
"Sixteen," the man echoed. "Unbelievable. What in the world did you do? What are you doing here with the big boys? Why aren't you in the kiddie jail?"
In her blog a couple weeks ago Melanie mentioned that she has a new book out, but she didn't say much about it. Maybe she didn't want to brag. Since I just read the book, I thought I'd do the bragging for her. :)
Convicted tells the story of Andrew Michell, a guy who's already a serious thief and troublemaker by the time he finishes ninth grade. You can probably guess from the cover that he's going to spend some time in jail. And since this is a Christian book, you can pretty much figure that he's going to meet Jesus somehow, and his life will be changed.
No huge surprises there—but the amazing thing about this book is just how dramatically Jesus changed Andrew. I don't want to give away too much, but one of my favorite parts of the books is what happens when he travels to Costa Rica and the local media discovers that a convicted criminal is living in their midst. When Andrew's story hits the news . . . well, you'll just have to find out how God worked!
In true Melanie fashion, I must tell you the pros and cons of this book. On the plus side, Melanie is a great writer who takes us right into Andrew's world. The down side is that at the beginning of the book, Andrew's world is a dark place filled with anger, pain, and evil. It was so dark that I actually put the book aside for a couple days to focus on something happier! Thankfully, that lasts only through the first few chapters, but parts of the book could be disturbing for younger Guide readers especially.
This is a book that I think teens should read, because many teens have a lot of anger inside like Andrew did. It's too bad Andrew didn't discover Jesus until after making a lot of bad choices and suffering the consequences. I hope this book will show young people that knowing Jesus can free them from those negative attitudes—and that they don't have to mess up their lives first.
Another thing I like about this book is that even at the end Andrew doesn't have his whole life figured out. He's still a young guy, following God to the best of His ability and looking for His guidance. Andrew isn't put up on a pedestal, as if having a dramatic experience with God and even having someone write a book about you will solve all your problems and make your life perfect. That means there's hope for all of us!
Melanie's book is available at Adventist Book Centers and online. If you read Convicted, let me know what you think of it!