Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursentary: Sixteen by Emily Rachelle

Photo Credit: Goodreads

It was the day before school started, I was already on a reading binge, and there was a contest. This contest, in fact, hosted by Emily Rachelle. This Thursentary is not my entry. However, since I read her book,  Sixteen, I figured I’d review it here too—but my way, because I am stubborn like that.

Also, this book taught me that if your Kindle updates when you’re almost to the climax, don’t panic. The
words come back… eventually.

The Rundown (via Goodreads)

Nicole "Nikki" Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it's no surprise that Matt's age is all her mom sees. Just because he's twenty-four and she's sixteen doesn't mean he's a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki's dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine...

Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship - with Matt, her parents, her best friend, and most importantly, God.

Spekalation: My First Thoughts (Top 7 Edition)
[Be forewarned of spoilers, because they’re there.]

1. concise: This sounds like it would be bad, but I actually appreciate Sixteen’s brevity. It took me maybe an hour to read at 70-ish pages, and I like that. It brightened my last day of summer without demanding too much of my energy, so I could write and work the rest of the day.

2. possibly historically inaccurate: I was not alive in 1995, nor do I particularly remember the technology in the following years when I was alive. All the same, I have to wonder if the IMing sequence might have been slightly ahead of its time; I mean, the Telegraph can be trusted, the Internet wasn’t particularly shiny in 1995. It’s totally possible, but I don’t wonder if people still talked to each other on the phone back then.

3. good emotional tension: Not to say that emotions are my strong suit, but I felt that you could sense the evolution with each new chapter—there were never times when it was an emotional abyss. There was a good balance of pain and pleasure to carry the story, and it was a great part of my personal enjoyment.

4. all very fast: I was kind of taken aback by the plot. One second Nikki and Matt were strangers and the next they were married, and I was like, “What just happened?” Granted, it’s my fault for speeding through it, but Matt and Nikki’s relationship seemed to speed by without a cinch—and by that I mean Matt and Nikki didn’t have to struggle in their relationship with one another; the family dynamic of a new baby is something else entirely.

5. professional: This seems dumb, I suppose, because you would expect every author to put as much work as possible into making their work worth reading, and that includes design. I’ve bought books that are poorly designed for Kindles or haven’t been edited as much as they needed to be, and they disappointed me. Sixteen wasn’t just a nice story, but it also looked loved—like someone wanted it to be beautiful. That mattered to me.

6. preachy: Just over halfway through the book, there is the sermon, and as much as I love Jesus, emotional conversion stuff simply isn’t my cup of tea. For people who enjoy that sort of thing, I imagine it would be one of the most pivotal parts of the book—it’s just that my favorite sermons were about The Incredibles and Spiderman and Les Misérables, so I was not part of the ideal audience.

7. a different perspective: As #6 might have suggested, when God comes into my fiction, it’s because King Leonidas from 300 was so Jesus for me, or because Simba’s story has Biblical parallels and moral symbolism, or because Carlisle Cullen is a Christ figure. Reading about a touchy subject from an explicitly Christian point of view was different, and reminded me that for a lot of people, this scenario and resolution would be their lives—shotgun weddings are still alive. I needed that reminder.

At any rate, I liked it—so would other teen girls, probably younger. Sixteen gave me a chance to learn and to think, and ultimately spoke a message of mercy. It was a love story, it was meant to share the Word, but in the end, it reminded me that it’s the sinners who need to be forgiven—myself included. And I am privileged to have a God who forgives, just like that.

Did you read Sixteen? What did you think? Share in the comments below!

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