Shake Them, Break Them, Make Them
Gone Too Soon by Melody Carlson – wow what an emotional roller coaster read this contemporary YA Christian novel is. If you are looking for a comfortable feel-good read this is not it. However if you are looking for a gritty novel dealing with relevant issues and with the restorative power of God, then look no further.
Melody Carlson pulls no punches. This book is a difficult and at times uncomfortable read with its themes of loss, addiction, suicidal thoughts, guilt and fractured families. “I feel a huge load of guilt burying me.” The good news is that God sees the hurt and the pain and He walks alongside us to bring healing.
We do not always see or feel God. “I think my prayers are getting ignored, because it just seems to be getting worse.” We were never promised an easy life but we can know that God is not ignoring us, no matter what the circumstances might say. God sees. God hears. God is working tirelessly for us.
An extended family is drowning in personal guilt. It weighs each member down as everyone feels individually responsible for the death. The truth is that it was no one’s fault. It was a tragic accident. The burden of guilt is not meant to be carried. Each member needs to forgive themselves.
A marvellous legacy is left in the form of a diary. It is a legacy that points others to God as the writer refers to herself as a God-aholic – what a wonderful name.
I love Melody Carlson’s novels. Normally they are feel-good fuzzy reads. This one is an oh so powerful read – both a coming of age and an opening of eyes novel. I leave you with my favourite very powerful quote:
“I just hope and pray they can exchange their various addictions for a God addiction.”
Amen to that.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
About the Book
Book: Gone Too Soon
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: November 15, 2018
An icy road. A car crash.
A family changed forever.
Hannah Josephson had always been the “perfect” daughter. Kiera couldn’t live up to her before, and she certainly can’t now that her older sister has died in a car accident. But the image she carried resentfully of Hannah is challenged when she finds her dead sister’s diary and begins to read. Apparently Hannah’s final year wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought.
Caught in a pattern of blaming each other, the Josephson family is falling apart. Their father has left, their mother is mixing opiates and alcohol, little sister Maddie has been shipped off to spend the whole summer with their grandmother, and Kiera feels utterly alone with her grief and anger. A summer job helping at a park in a poor section of town provides a friend and a purpose.
But it’s Hannah’s diary that fills her thoughts. For the first time in years, she feels close to the sister she’s lost. But can the knowledge she gleans about her possibly help her patch back together the family that seems determined to implode?
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About the Author
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.
More from Melody
I think I’ve written about a hundred or more teen novels, but Gone Too Soon, a rather serious story, is a bit different. There’s no denying I’ve covered a bunch of gritty issues—everything from self-harm to suicide to murder—but I’ve never written a novel quite like this one. For starters, I wrote it from two viewpoints. Both the teenage daughter and her mother express themselves in this story. And because the premise involves an untimely death, the family is torn apart. As a result, there’s a lot of guilt and blame and confusion going around. They’re all in pain.
I’ve been asked several times what “inspired” this story. And I’m sad to say that it’s simply a case of “art imitating life.” I live in a small community where too many young people have died “too soon.” These untimely deaths—for a variety of random and unexplainable reasons—are devastating. I know more than a dozen families (some very close friends) who have tragically lost a child. So I’ve seen up close how it can tear a family apart. It’s truly heartbreaking, often leaving friends and family without words of comfort or explanation.
But that’s not the only reason I wrote this story. My hope is that teens (who often feel invincible) will be reminded that they are mortal and that this earthly life is temporary. Hard as it sounds, death is inevitable. And it’s not that I want everyone to be obsessed about dying, but we do live in a culture that practices denial about the end of a life. No one really wants to talk about it. My hope is that readers will take a hard, honest look, peel back some layers, and face death for what it is—a part of earthly life. And I hope readers will close the book with a little more understanding . . . and hope.
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To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize of paperback copy of Gone Too Soon and a matching journal!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dfa9/gone-too-soon-celebration-tour-giveaway