Book Reviews

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
In this movie tale of sisterhood and womanhood, we meet the March sisters: Jo (a talented tomboy), Meg (the pretty one), Beth (the shy one), and Amy (the tempermental one), as well as their strong mother, Marmee. We get to share their joys, sorrows, hardships, and adventures as they grow up in Civil War New England. Every girl, young and old, will be able to relate to at least one of the girls in this book. Based on the author's real life experiences, "Little Women" teaches us the values of friendship, family, loyalty, patience, and love. I believe that every young woman out there should read this book. Its a classic must have, must read!

My Sergei: A Love Story by Ekaterina Gordeeva
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were the most celebrated pairs skaters of all time. But they weren't just partners on the ice. On and off the ice, they were a happily married couple: she was 24, he 28, and their daughter Daria, was 3 years old. They skated together for 13 years and were married for four years. Then, in 1995, during practice for an upcoming figure skating tour, 28 year old Sergei Grinkov collapsed on the ice, and died of a heart attack. He left behind millions of shocked fans, and skating friends. But most of all, he left behind a young window and little girl. This is their story, told in the words of Ekaterina Gordeeva herself (also called "Katia" by fans and friends).

From their humble beginnings as children in Russia, to their Olympic gold medals, we get to hear for ourselves, the story of how they grew up as skating partners and how Katia was able to get Sergei to notice her long after she noticed him. Now, as a single mother and a singles skater, Katia tells us about picking up the pieces after Sergei's death and moving on. This is the most moving real life story I've read in such a long time. It'll make you laugh and cry, so make sure you have some tissue handy when you read this wonderful book!

Jesus Freaks by dc Talk
WOW! That's definitely one word to describe this incredible book. Jesus Freaks is a collection of stories, some just a page, and others are many pages. But each story has one thing in common and that's Jesus Christ. Each story is about a person or persons who stood up for Jesus and ultimately died for refusing to deny their faith. From China to Indonesia to Lebanon to Russia. All over the world, for thousands of years, Christians have been persecuted for their faith. Finally, their stories are being told. If these stories don't cause you to be more bold about your faith, nothing will. Its a must read for every Christian!

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo by Zlata Filipovic
She's been called Sarajevo's Anne Frank. Her diary begins with an 11 year old talking about piano lessons, birthday parties, family, friends, TV, and school. A few short months later, her life is turned upside down. Now, her life consists of the horrors of war, witnessed firsthand by Zlata. The deaths of her friends, food shortages, and hiding out in basements from bombings are just some of what now makes up Zlata's young life.

In an amazing way, Zlata boldly tells us a moving and inspiring account of a childhood torn apart by war. Zlata and her parents were eventually able to get away from there and move safetly to Paris in 1993. But before then, Zlata witnessed things that no child should ever have to experience. This is her story, told in her very own words. Its a moving piece of work.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
In the first of an 8 book series, we meet a little orphaned girl named Anne Shirley. She's 11 years old and has fiery red hair, not to mention an ability to cause all kinds of trouble whenever she's around. When she arrives at Green Gables, the home of Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, they're quite surprised. They had sent for a boy, not a girl. A boy can help around the house and do the farmwork. They have no need for a girl. Now Anne must do whatever it takes to convince them to keep her and through it all, she teaches them a thing or two, and vice versa. Anne Shirley is the most loveable literary character I've ever met, and I can relate to her in just about every way possible. This "Anne of Green Gables" series is another must read for young girls and women everywhere.

Praying For the Worlds 365 Most Influential People by David and Heather Kopp
This is the best devotional I have ever seen! It not only changes your life, but with it, you have the ability to help change the lives of thousands of people who influence today's culture. Each day you get to pray for another individual who has an impact on society, and even on your own children. Each day gives you a brief summary of who the person is, a quote that they made, and a list of what to pray for. No where in the book do they ever pass judgement on a particular individual. In fact, they speak very highly of those who are not saved. The authors have no problem admitting when an unsaved person has done something positive and they make sure to let you know that we must thank God for their acheivments as well. Unfortunately, I know many Christians who would not read this book because of that. Somehow, Christians find it hard to not only admit when the unsaved have helped make this world a better place, but there is no way you'd ever catch them quoting anything positive from the unsaved. And that's sad. Some of the quotes in this book actually make you think and in a way, it helps strengthen your own personal convictions.

Some of the influential people in the book who you are to pray for are: John Travolta, Jim Carrey, Oprah Winfrey, John Grisham, Tom Hanks, Stephen Spielberg, the Dahli Lama, Osama bin Laden, Bill & Hillary Clinton, Marilyn Manson, Michael W. Smith, dc Talk, Kirk Franklin, Billy Graham, Pope John Paul, Suddam Hussein, Ted Turner, Jewel, Susan Sarandon, David Geffen, Wayne Gretzky, and many, many more.

I am so sick of Christians who condemn Hollywood, people in politics, etc and yet they don't pray for them on a daily basis! They have no trouble listing the sins in a person's life, but if you ask "when's the last time you prayed for this person?" they just give you a blank look. Itís about time we turned our judgements of others into prayer. Prayer is a powerful weapon and it works a whole lot better then pointing fingers at people. I highly recommend that every Christian out there get this book!

Drums of Change by Janette Oke
Running Fawn is a young Indian girl, born and raised on an Indian reservation. Hers is a peaceful world, full of beautiful mountains, trees, and the wilderness. She loved her home more then anything else in the world. Then, one day the white men came, and soon, her life was torn apart through the slaughter of wild animals and wild fires which burned her land. She is soon forced to move to an assigned Reserve, along with the rest of her tribe. Running Fawn soon finds herself attending classes at a Mission Boarding School where she learns more and more about the white man.....and their God. Will Running Fawn reject the "white man's God?" or will she soon accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour? While "Drums of Change" is a work of fiction, it is also centered around actual, Historical events.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I remember first reading this book a year ago, when it was assigned to us in one of my English classes. At first I was uninterested and wasn't looking forward to reading this book at all. But nonetheless, I had to and in turn, I wound up actually enjoying it very much. I even found myself renting the movie and reading the book numerous times. I'm not sure what really attracted me to the book. Perhaps its because the story is what I'd consider "Twilight Zone material." I've always been interested in stories that were a bit weird and creepy. And that's what this book is. But itís also educational.

Dorian Gray is a man obsessed with remaining young. His body remains perfectly youthful, while his recently painted portrait grows older and uglier every day. Itís a portrait of evil, showing us what is really inside Dorian's heart. The more and more Dorian sins and does evil things, the more grotesque the portrait becomes. This is a portrait that he keeps hidden in the attic and nobody must ever see it. If anything, the story shows you what can happen when a person becomes obsessed with youth and beauty. Dorian's obsession eventually leads to his demise. This is a classic book that I think most young adults will enjoy.