Clearly my dad has the money to help me out. But would he? The man might have murdered my mother in cold blood. And here I was in his house. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson about walking into traps. I just didn’t think I’d have much of a life without basketball. Maybe that was melodramatic of me, but it was how I felt. I needed to get the best surgery possible.
Book: Ambushed by Jill Williamson, Novel Teen Press, 2014
Target Audience: Boys 13-18
Subjects: Visions/Prophecy, Prayer, Friendship, Betrayal, Purity, Salvation, Injury
Summary: Unthinkable. Out of the question. Basketball is what Spencer lives for. Risking losing that is not an option. Yet, a mission league training activity gone wrong leaves him with a torn ACL. His grandma can’t afford much – just the cheap surgeon the insurance offers – the rude one who acts completely apathetic to Spencer and his injury. Spencer isn’t willing to risk something so vital on a man like that! Which would be why he finds himself standing at the entrance to a mansion, prepared to ask his father for help… the father who betrayed the Mission League, caused his mother’s death and abandoned Spencer… the father who may be out to kill Spencer as well. As if all of this isn’t enough, Spencer can’t stop thinking about the blond beauty in his visions who is clearly being abused… and who has disappeared from school. Things are building up and Spencer is in way over his head yet again.
Notes: Ambushed is the fourth in the Mission League Chronicles, a series about an unsaved boy who joins a Christian Spy Group for teens just to keep out of the military school his grandmother is threatening him with.
As the series progresses he learns of his parents’ history with the league, develops some friends, gets introduced to spiritual gifts – including the gift of prophecy – which he has, and discovers that he may be the fulfillment of a prophecy himself and therefore a key target for the enemy. In this series there are good and bad examples set by all of the characters but it is pointed out clearly which are which most of the time so the teenage reader isn’t left doubting which is right and which is wrong. Purity is a common resounding theme as Spencer learns how to treat girls with respect and decency.
In this book, Spencer has sworn off girls. He doesn’t want anything distracting him from his goal of getting a basketball scholarship. That focus causes him to do other dangerous things though. He openly acknowledges that is taking stupid risks just to achieve his dream. However, a betrayal from a close friend pushes him to a point where he is finally ready to give God his attention.
A huge spiritual element that is key in this book comes when Spencer attends a birthday party that Gabe’s dad hosts for him, focusing on helping Gabe figure out what it takes to become a man. Spencer can’t stop thinking about evaluating everything he sees according to those terms. Is he really living life in a way that is respectful, responsible and righteous? Are those around him?
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Philippians 1:9-11 – And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.