March 16, 2015

Finding Me

What first made me choose to read Finding Me was the description of the book. It was a great hook to get me interested in reading the story. But the biggest reason I wanted to read it was the fact that I’ve loved the other books I’ve read by Cushman. Going into this book I expected Cushman to tackle some of the harder issues in life as she has in her previous works.

Cushman delivers an almost perfect mixture of prose and dialogue.  Her characters are constantly conversing with each other but at the same time she also has a lot of inner dialogue that gives the reader a glimpse into the deeper side of the characters. But some of my favorite parts were Kelli’s journal entries and also her step-mother’s letters to her mother. I love opportunities to get to know characters on a deeper level.

While reading this novel you get to know Kelli so well that you feel like you’re her family. Between the glimpses into her diary, the letters her step-mother left her and the flashbacks and dreams she has you can feel the inner turmoil she experiences when she finds out her life was not as honest as she thought. As you discover the details with her you find yourself learning how she copes and wondering if you would have the strength she has.  Each person from her past that you meet in the story is an amazing addition and you soon come to love them as much as you love Kelli.

This was a book that was hard for me to put down. It has just the right amount of suspense to keep you turning the pages but not so much that it needed to be published in the suspense genre. Cushman has a real talent for providing the perfect amount of backstory to her characters.

This book is so full of conflict and tension that is was almost painful to watch the characters deal with these feelings. Kelli’s inner tension of learning about her past, her anger toward her father, all of the unknowns and many other conflicts arise in this book. But each area of conflict teaches a lesson and lends to great examples of God’s love and grace and forgiveness. There are also some romantic moments in this book too. And of course they were some of my favorite moments. But all in all the romance was downplayed to keep the importance on the other issues in the book.

It is quite clear reading Cushman’s novels that either she or people very close to her have gone through some deep pain in their lives. She writes from a place that only experience can provide insight into.

Kelli grew up in a home where salvation was presented as “good works” but thanks to her new friends in Tennessee she is introduced to a church that preaches real salvation. The glimpse into her learning more about God in this book is truly priceless. I loved experiencing aspects of church from the eyes of a newcomer. This book could very well be used as a witnessing tool since I didn’t find it to be preachy but more just dialogue between characters learning and sharing together.

This story’s entire background is based on a huge lie. If a young person wants to read this book they should definitely have some time with a parent to discuss the perils of lying and the consequences that come. Also, this book deals with death on more than one occasion.

I can honestly say I’ve never read a book with a story line quite like this one. I truly enjoyed reading a fresh perspective in Christian Fiction. Cushman’s book is sure to be treasured by anyone who loves contemporary Christian fiction with just a little romance and suspense thrown in. I believe anyone who loves Karen Kingsbury’s books would also like Cushman’s.

One of the best parts about reading Christian Fiction is finding stories that not only captivate your interest and entertain you but also that force you to look deep inside yourself to ponder how you would react in certain situations. This is one of those books. As you read you find yourself searching your heart to see how you would respond and what decisions you would make and to me that is what makes a great book.

Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

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