The Jerk Magnet

Saturday, January 28, 2012
“Trust me, Dayton Moore is a total jerk.” She pointed to Chelsea and laughed. “But I don’t know why I’m surprised.”
Chelsea felt confused. “Why?”
“Because it’s pretty obvious that you, Chelsea Martin, are a jerk magnet.”

Book: The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson, Revell Publishers, 2012
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-18
Subjects: Dating Relationships, Modesty, Friendship, Beauty, Popularity
Summary: She’s beautiful. The wicked stepmother wasn’t so wicked after all. She’s turned Chelsea into a beauty. And the guys in her new school are definitely aware of this beauty. First there’s the two guys in the hot tub hitting on her. Then there’s the guy at the pool who won’t take no for an answer – and makes a move for her right in front of her dad! Then there’s the pastor’s son as the youth group outing who flirts with her right in front of the girl he has a sort of relationship with – who also happens to be Chelsea’s new friend! Then there’s her friend’s neighbor who manages to be incredibly persistent. The worst though is when her own teacher starts flirting with her! Chelsea is sick and tired of being a jerk magnet. Not only are all the wrong guys trying to flirt with her just because she’s good looking, but the one guy she does like won’t give her the time of day for the same reason! Finally Chelsea and her friend come up with a scheme to prove that the outside appearance is not what matters. This scheme could make or break the chance to get the right guy once and for all.
Notes: This is a fascinating look at how people, primarily teenagers, respond to the outward appearance. Chelsea’s friend Janelle points out early on that Chelsea’s beauty makes the guys and girls alike believe that she is shallow. Chelsea and Janelle look quite different and get treated quite different even though they have many similar characteristics. When they change their appearances for a youth conference and pretend to be someone else – Janelle, someone beautiful, Chelsea, someone shy and plain, they get the exact responses they predicted. This story really challenges teens to look beyond the outward appearance. As with all of Melody Carlson’s books, it is written in a very realistic modern way that teens will easily relate to. As for spiritual content, about halfway through the book, Chelsea attends an event that causes her to accept Christ as her Savior and wonders throughout the rest of the book what the Christian thing to do is. There are multiple discussions about this between characters. There is a lot of discussion about the issue Chelsea and Janelle struggle with as well. They discuss how the Christian guys act like they fear the pretty girls as if they will lead them to break their commitments to God. The characters are a part of a youth group and attend multiple events with the youth group. There is not much mention of the Bible, but definitely prayer and moral issues.
Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Samuel 16:7 – Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

 This book was given to me for free by Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Lassie: Hayloft Hideout

Saturday, January 21, 2012
Sarah said slowly, almost to herself, “You guys live here, don’t you?” Briny started to protest. Sarah just stared at her until Briny said in a small voice, “Don’t tell anyone, Sarah, please.”

Book: Lassie, Hayloft Hideout by Marian Bray, Chariot Books, 1996

Genre: Adventure, Animal Stories
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 10-14
Subjects: Stealing, Lying, Trust in God, Showing love to others
Summary: Jimmy is interested in one thing and one thing only right now: winning the contest to be the one to meet football hero, Blair Coughlin. But Sarah has a different priority right now, and that priority is causing her to do things she never would have dreamed she would do things like lying to her parents and stealing. A family of six kids is living out in an abandoned barn because their parents are both dead and they will be split up and sent to various foster homes if they get caught. Sarah and Jimmy’s goals conflict when Jimmy brings home the money he raised for the contest and Sarah steals it to give to the kids. Something has to change – but what?
Notes: This is one of the books in the Lassie series, based off of the TV shows. In this book Jimmy and Sarah both have lessons to learn. Jimmy learns about showing love to others when a kid on his team is accused of being the one to steal the money just because he’s quiet and shy and others don’t know a lot about him. By the end of the book he has shifted his priorities to put showing love to others as a higher priority than meeting his hero. Sarah has to learn to trust God and the adults in her life. She quickly falls into believing that not telling the adults and letting the kids stay in an abandoned barn is what’s best for them and even agrees to steal and lie for them. She has to learn to trust and to be trustworthy. It’s sort of a look at doing the wrong thing for the right reason.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Samuel 15::22 –But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Lassie: Danger At Echo Cliffs

“Why did Lassie fall?” asked Sarah. Jimmy gently stroked his dog’s head. “I’m not sure,” he said, not wanting to believe what flickered in his brain.

Book: Danger at Echo Cliffs (Lassie Danger at Echo Cliffs) by Marian Bray, Chariot Books, 1996

Genre: Adventure, Animal Stories
Target Audience: Boys 10-14
Subjects: Worldview, Trust in God
Summary: Jimmy isn’t convinced that he and Sarah are going to have that exciting of a spring break. They’re spending it with their uncle on an archeological exploration of ruins in New Mexico. Some of their uncle’s college students are on this trip as well. When Jimmy, Sarah and Karina, one of the students, get separated from the rest of the group during a hail storm, they stumble into danger. When the river bed floods they become trapped on the wrong side of the river. Lassie is with them and instinctively saves them from a cave-in but becomes blind in the process! Now they’re trapped with an injured dog and no way to get back home.
Notes: This is one of the books in the Lassie series, based off of the TV shows. In this book Jimmy receives an opportunity to witness to someone with a different worldview. At one point in the book he recognizes that Karina would have to give up the worldview of her people if she wanted to become a Christian but that it’s been easy for him, having been raised in a Bible believing home. He is portrayed as mature enough to recognize that he needs to know more about her beliefs, not in order to condemn her for being wrong, but to understand and get to know her better so he can share God’s love and power with her. It’s done simply so that 10 year olds could understand it, but done well.
Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

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