Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rediscovering "Departures"

Ten years ago I read the Christy Miller series of books by Robin Jones Gunn, after a good friend recommended them for their spiritual application. Spiritual? A set of teen books? Usually these things are all fluff--which girl likes which boy, blah blah blah. Yes, there is some of that here. HOWEVER, I had clearly underestimated Ms. Gunn. Not only are the spiritual applications there, the characters also seem so real--as in, they go through challenges, have ups and downs, pray and try to let God work, mess up sometimes, and start all over again. What I have loved about the character of Christy Miller is that she falters, but she is growing. From Book One of the series, we see a dramatic shift in her character that is nevertheless subtle enough to be valid.
In Departures, we see Christy after having just graduated from high school. Now, I have read the books that are further in the series, so I know how it all ends up. This novella is more of an intermission-type of story. It was interesting, though, and I did like what the author did with the characters in less than 100 pages.
The second novella was about Sierra Jensen, who Gunn also wrote a series of books about, and who eventually does hover in the periphery of the Christy books as well. I hadn't read much about Sierra but I liked her immediately. In this book, she is only fifteen, yet she seems really grounded (but, again, not unrealistically so). This contrasts the Christy character at age fifteen, who was much more flighty and goofy. I like that the character knows who she is and seeks out a relationship with God on her own. Inspiring stuff!
Thank you, Ms. Gunn, for these stories, which upon rediscovery, are just as wonderful as ever!

(By the way, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for writing my honest review. You can read an excerpt of the book: here)