Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: The Good Girl by Christy Barritt

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Tara Lancaster can sing Amazing Grace in three harmonies, two languages, and interpret it for the hearing impaired. She can list the Bible canon backward, forward, and alphabetized. And the only time she ever missed church was at seventeen because she had pneumonia and her mom made her stay home.

But when her life shatters around her and her reputation is left in ruins, Tara decides escape is the only option. She flees halfway across the country to dog-sit, but the quiet anonymity she needs isn't waiting in her sister's house. Instead she finds a knife with a threatening message, a fame-hungry friend, a too-hunky neighbor, and evidence of...a ghost?

Following all the rules has gotten her nowhere. And nothing she learned in Sunday School can tell her where to go from there.

My source for book: Personal Library
My Thoughts:
This one started out a bit slow for me, but when it finally picked up speed (around the half-way mark) I found myself very intrigued by the mystery of the crazy happenings at Tara's temporary home. Ghostly hauntings--or anything even resembling them--are not the norm for a Christian genre book, but the mystery is done quite well, especially when coupled with Tara's already fragile faith that has her questioning all of her long-held beliefs.

Part of what made the beginning so slow for me was Tara's constant thoughts and inner-whining about a past false accusation against her reputation, which the story doesn't reveal specific details about until a third of the way through. I found it hard to connect with Tara or be sympathetic when I didn't know what, or how bad, the situation actually was. Yes, it turned out to be quite bad, but finally learning the details changed my feelings and allowed me to better understand her, which I was unable to do until her full past was revealed.

In the midst of a crisis of faith Tara's thought process is undoubtedly very realistic for some people, but I admit that some of her fleeting musings on trying new things and doing the opposite of what her old "good girl" self would have done made me a bit uncomfortable. However, it was very heartening when she eventually came back around to the realization that God is always good, even when life isn't.

Despite the slow start, the book was definitely worth reading. I enjoyed the mystery aspect, especially when the strange activity really ramped up with crazy unexplainable events happening at every turn. The characters and their relationships were interesting and amusing as well. The out-of-the-norm characters (like Candy with her blue hair!) are a great reminder to not judge a book by its cover, so to speak, as people can often turn out to be quite different than what their appearance or first impression conveys.

The thought of staying in a creepy house with unexplainable events is not a reality I want to ever experience...but it does make for a great plot. If you're looking for something unique, this story might just be the thing you're searching for!

My Rating: 4 stars

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