Feb 26, 2012

Interrupted by Rachel Coker

In fifteen-year-old author Rachel Coker’s young adult debut, young Allie Everly’s life is changed forever by the illness and death of her beloved mother and subsequent adoption by an older woman in Maine. Bitter and feeling unloved, Allie rejects her new mother and her new mother’s faith and throws herself into her poetry, until Sam Carroll, her best friend from the past, arrives. With Sam comes a host of confusing emotions, and Allie finds she must overcome her past in order to find forgiveness.

Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn’t shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie’s heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.

Rachel Coker is a homeschool student who lives in Virginia with her parents and two sisters. She has a passion for great books and has been surrounded by them all her life. In fact, as a young child, Rachel helped her parents in a family-run Christian book business. Her gift for writing became apparent at the age of eleven, at which time her parents signed her up for a year of lessons with a professional writing coach. When she is not writing or playing the piano, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

When I was approached about reviewing a debut novel written by a 16 year old author, I was intrigued. Interrupted, A life beyond words ... is the story of Allie, a devoted daughter and misunderstood teenager. When Allie's mother dies from cancer, Allie is adopted and moved across the country against her wishes. Allie never wants to be hurt again, and she is often told that she has a heart of stone.

As the years go by, Allie desperately clings to the memories of her mother, and she faithfully writes letters to her deceased mom in her journal. She shuts out friendships with others her age, and she maintains a distance between herself and her adoptive family.

Allie's journey is a lonely one, even though her new family loves and supports her. Things improve only when she finally admits to herself that she is treasured. There are definite similarities to some other well known novels in the Christian fiction genre, but overall this is a sweet love story that should appeal to readers of historical fiction.

For a debut novel, I think Rachel Coker has done an awesome job, and it will be interesting to watch this young author and see what she does next.

Disclosure: Book received courtesy of Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.

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