Slattery has crafted an entertaining, informative and thought provoking novel. The plot centers around the short term mission trip a youth group makes to El Salvador, a developing country still recovering from a devastating hurricane and a bloody civil war.
I liked the main character, Brooke. She goes on the trip as an adult chaperone with her teen sister's church youth group. What Brooke experiences in El Salvador changes her life forever.
There are many great aspects to this novel. One is that it really gives the reader an idea of a short term mission trip. We read about the feelings some El Salvadorans may have regarding the visitors, that they come with money and a save-the-world attitude and leave making promises they never keep. On the other hand, we read about the sacrifices the teens are willing to make to go on this mission trip.
Another aspect of the novel is the exploration of feeling called by God to do a certain task or ministry. How does one know for sure? How does one respond to the critical comments of others who do not understand? How does one evaluate a profitable career against the call of God?
There are other issues for readers to think about too. What is the purpose of a short term mission trip, to change the person going or change the people being visited? What about dating someone from an entirely different culture? How do we feel about our extravagant lifestyles when others live in hovels with not enough food to eat?
The only thing missing in this novel was more description. I would have liked to be able to better visualize people and places in El Salvador.
I recommend this novel to teens and young adults who are interested in the impact of short mission trips. The characters you meet will tug at your heart. While you may not be able to change the world, you will be challenged with the possibility of changing one life.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Jennifer Slattery is the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, helping women embrace and live out who they are in Christ. She is a frequent speaker on topics women face in our busy world. She is the author of several novels and is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com. She serves as the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light women's fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. You can find out more at https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/. You can connect with Slattery on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 306 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.