First Crush by Ashley Ludwig is a contemporary Christian romantic thriller and wow what an amazing read it is. I read it in just two sittings. I could not put it down! Heart pounding, adrenalin pumping, an absolutely fabulous read.
God is very much at the heart of the novel. Tragedy will either push people away from God or draw people towards God. Within the novel there are both types of people. The good news is – God doesn’t give up on us. “Just because he didn’t believe in God doesn’t mean God stopped believing in him.” God will wait for us to return Him.
In the face of unthinkable pain sometimes God is the only secure place. “Only divine grace could see someone through pain like that.” Life can be unbelievably cruel at times but turning to God and having Him walk beside us can be a comfort. As Natalie says “How did a family with no faith in God, or eternity, comfort each other?” In an uncertain world, clinging to God may be all that we can do.
There are new Christians within the novel, with the theme of new beginnings and second chances. Our past is behind us. We are a new creation in Jesus. Life may still be hard though. “So much for being washed white as snow. Nick felt more like that old shirt with the wine stain.” Life can be a daily battle to put the past behind us. We need to recommit each day to the Lord.
The novel deals with the topic of fear but “fear wasn’t from God. Light was the only thing to push back the shadows.” When we feel afraid, we need to remember that God has already won the war. We need to shine His light into the dark areas. Fear can paralyse us and keep us trapped in the past. We need to face our fears and move forwards. “You can’t hide in fear. Sometimes you’ve gotta take a stand.”
The novel deals with some difficult themes – murder, abduction, gambling – the world is not a nice place. Being a Christian does not make one immune to bad things. Life is a battle against what we can see and a spiritual battle against evil and the forces of darkness.
Within First Crush there is the theme of identity. There are characters who are adopted. Some want to know their roots and find out about their biological parents. For others, that is not important. It is who has bought them up that matters. The whole nature versus nurture debate can be found within the novel’s pages.
Prayer is of vital importance. Prayer is communicating with God. Prayer happens in good times – such as grace before meals and being thankful. In times of trouble, God should be the first person we call.
First Crush was an amazing novel. I really hope my review has done it justice. It was a powerful read with a gritty storyline. God was at the heart but not in a ‘preachy’ way, more in a ‘part of everyday life’ way. “Coincidence is just God showing up.”
This was my first novel by Ashley Ludwig and I certainly want more, more, more. An absolutely fantastic read.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.